DR. WILLIAM FRANKLIN LEE III

Obituary
9 entries
  • "God Speed!"
    - Bruce Grilikhes
  • "I came to know Bill after he moved to New Smyrna Bch. He..."
    - Dave St. Mire
  • "It was honored to have met Mr. Lee as well as work on the..."
    - Jack Frisch
  • - Irene Lui
  • ""As a young jazz musician, many influential moments..."
    - Andre Mika
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Dr. William Franklin Lee III, aka Bill Lee, 82, passed away Sunday, October 23, 2011 in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Born on February 20, 1929, in Galveston, Texas, Dr. Lee was a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, author, and music educator who is renowned for pioneering comprehensive music education. Lee served on the faculties of St. Mary's University, The University of Texas, Sam Houston State University, Florida International University and is most known for having led the University of Miami, School of Music to international influence across several music genres, particularly jazz, as Dean of the School of Music, Composer-in-Residence and Distinguished Professor of Music. Dr. Lee also served as Vice-President and Provost at The University of Miami and was one of the founding members, Past President and Executive Director of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). Lee was playing trumpet professionally at age 12 and performing with the Houston Symphony at 15 years of age. He was a pianist with several big bands and jazz greats, including Gene Krupa, Artie Shaw, Charlie Parker, Red Rodney and Gerry Mulligan. As a professional composer-arranger, Lee won over 20 ASCAP awards. His musical composition, "Eight Vignettes for a Festive Occasion" was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and he is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Dr. Lee published over 100 books and received Grammy nominations for his compositions and recordings and two Deems Taylor Awards for his books; People in Jazz and the biography of Stan Kenton, Artistry in Rhythm. Dr. Lee also wrote the biographies of Maynard Ferguson, Billy Taylor and comprehensive libraries of instructional and biographical music publications. Bill moved to New Smyrna Beach in 2005 to be closer to his children. He settled into retirement and in recent years authored another dozen books outlining notable musicians and their contributions in a series of books chronicled by musical instrument. Bill was a pioneer and visionary who contributed immeasurably to the music world and its students and scholars. His love and respect for jazz and its roots were his lifelong passion and brought him much joy. He was extremely proud of all his children and grandchildren and enjoyed spending time with them. Bill will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Lois Ruth. He is survived by his loving children, William F. Lee IV (Will Lee) and wife Sandrine, Robert Lee and wife Karen, Patricia Lee McAllister, and Peggy Lee Wharton and husband Rick; grandchildren Leeann, Tanya, Jessica, Jacquelyn, Austin, and a great-grandson expected in March. He also left behind the love of his life and former wife, Jacqueline Tyler Lee. A scholarship has been established at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music in the name of Dr. William F. Lee. Donations may be mailed to the University of Miami, Frost School of Music, 1314 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, FL 32146. All who knew Bill will agree it would please him greatly to know his legacy will continue at the University of Miami through future students.


Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Oct. 28, 2011
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