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Grigg T. Fountain


1918 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Grigg T. Fountain Obituary
Fountain, Grigg T.



Grigg Thompson Fountain, died at his home in Albuquerque on February 14, 2016. He was 97 years old.

Grigg T. Fountain was born in 1918 in Bishopville, SC. He was the oldest son of a Baptist preacher (Richard Speight Fountain), and homemaker, Lydia Fountain, his mother. He spent his formative years in Weldon, NC, where his family had relocated to in 1925. Growing up there he was influenced by his Father and the Weldon Baptist church Organist Mary Daniels from which he drew great inspiration and learned to love the organ and choral music. He attended the public schools and completed high school at the age of 16. Grigg attended Wake Forest University in 1935-6, Furman University in 1938-1939 receiving a BA, and Yale University on a full scholarship, 1940-1943 receiving a BM and MM in Church Music and Organ.

He was drafted into the army in 1943, and received an honorable discharge within a year (due to his very poor eyesight). His training company was one of the first to land on Normandy beaches on June 6th, 1944.

Grigg taught at Oberlin Conservatory of Music from 1946-61, while there, he had a special opportunity to work with and learn from Robert Shaw. This time became the foundation for his vast understanding and ability to teach and lead choral music and conducting. While at Oberlin, he met, taught, and then married Helen Erday in 1949. He also received a Fulbright scholarship and studied baroque organ literature in Germany and Western Europe, from 1953-54.

In 1961, Grigg accepted a proposal from Northwestern University (Evanston IL) to become the Professor of organ and church music at the school's college of Music, Organ and Choral music.department. Once there, he taught organ, he also served as the organist and choirmaster of the Alice Millar Chapel Choir. He stayed at NU until his retirement in 1986. Within 5 months after retirement he was sought out and asked to come out of retirement and serve as the interim Organist, Choir Director, and consultant, for almost 2 years. He served there from 1987-1989.

Grigg and Helen enjoyed their retirement years immensely, spending time with family, friends, and travelling endlessly in their RV and also enjoyed many Ocean Cruises.

Known as a charming gentleman with always something nice to say, and wonderful demeanor, he endeared people to him through his genuine, ever kind, funny and giving personality.

He is survived by his four children, Bruce, John, Drew, and Suzanne. Bruce's wife Min Jung, and their three children Simon, Aaron and Christina. John Fountain, Drew Fountain, and Suzanne Fountain Phillips and her five children, Rachel, Hannah, Mary, Jacob and Bobby. He also has one great grandchild Nathan Phillips (from Hannah Phillips).

He will be remembered as a most adoring, loving, and giving husband of 60 years to our mother, Helen Erday Fountain who preceded him in death by 6 years (Oct 12, 2009). He will be remembered as a godly man and a gather who loved his children unconditionally for his entire paternal life. He will be remembered professionally as one of the greatest of his time in and outside of the United States. He will be remembered as a warm friend to virtually anyone he met, and most wonderfully as a mentor, teacher, collaborator, consultant, and great friend to all those who studied and worked with him in his field of Organ and Choral Music.

A celebration of Grigg's life will be held at will be held at Daniels Sara Rd. Chapel, 4310 Sara Rd., SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87214, on Monday, February 29th at 1 pm.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Feb. 28, 2016
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