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Celebration of Life
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
3:00 PM
MTSU School of Music
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Raymond Pickard Bills


1937 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Raymond Pickard Bills Obituary
Raymond Pickard Bills

Murfreesboro - Raymond Pickard Bills, 81, passed away peacefully at his home in Murfreesboro on November 3, 2018 following a short illness. He was surrounded by family at the time of his death.

Raymond was born May 12, 1937, in Kansas City, Missouri to the late Mabry and Marie (Pickard) Bills. His brother, Richard Nettleton Bills, preceded him in death in 2012.

Raymond received his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Northwestern University. His graduate studies included a Master of Music in Piano from Yale University and doctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin.

Raymond was a Professor Emeritus of Music at Middle Tennessee State University, where he had been on faculty since 1963. He was named Teacher of the Year by the Middle Tennessee Music Teachers Association, where he was a charter member, serving as President and Adjudication Chairman. He was a member of the Tennessee Music Teacher Association, where he edited The Tennessee Music Teacher and served on the State Executive Board.

An active solo recitalist, Raymond performed with the MTSU Symphonic Band and the MTSU Community Orchestra. He was a member of the Sanders Trio, the Stones River Chamber Players, and he performed with the Capitol City Chamber Players of Nashville. He served as an accompanist for visiting international artists, for faculty and student recitals, and he played the organ for a few years at the First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro. He taught private students using Suzuki methods and repertoire. For 16 years, Raymond partnered with his wife Jean, a cellist, to host an annual Suzuki Workshop on the MTSU campus. Ray and Jean also enjoyed performing music together, especially for children in area schools.

Ray and Jean traveled the world, most memorably, climbing Mt. Sinai in Egypt to watch a sunrise. Ray appreciated a variety of concerts, reading, and lively conversation. He often said he lived a charmed life.

Raymond is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Jean Schwiebert Bills; children, Anne Marie Bills (Debbie Jacobs) of Columbia, Missouri, and Taylor Madison (Lisa) Bills of Murfreesboro; grandchildren, Amanda Jacobs and David Jacobs of Columbia, Missouri, and Madison Scott Bills and Cadence Noelle Bills of Murfreesboro; and great-grandchildren, Alexis Stone of Columbia, Missouri, and Harmony Sophia Bills of San Diego, California.

A Celebration of Life will take place at the MTSU School of Music on January 20, 2019, at 3:00 pm. Memorial gifts may be made to the MTSU Foundation to benefit the MTSU Arts Program or the Raymond Bills Scholarship Fund, MTSU, P.O. Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.
Published in The Daily News Journal on Nov. 18, 2018
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