Stanley DeFries
1928 - 2021
Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home & Crematory
601 Indiana St
Lawrence, KS
Stanley Lewis DeFries died November 24th at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. He was born December 2, 1928 son of Bailey Bennett DeFries and Margaret Lucille Glendening DeFries. He grew up in Muncie, Kansas, attended Stony Point Elementary School and Turner High School. He participated in vocal and instrumental groups and was a member of the Hosking Boys Band where he also taught at the Hosking Conservatory. A ten year member of 4-H, he assumed many leadership roles in church and community.

He married Alice Jo Hostetter of Wellsville, Kansas, June 10,1951. They began their life together in Topeka, Stanley was Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church and Alice Jo taught at Dover High School. Their two children were born in Topeka; Stanley Lucky in 1953 and Paula Jo in 1955. They began their lifelong commitment to music ministry and teaching. First in Topeka, then Bloomington, IN, Washington D.C., Sioux Falls, SD, and back to Ottawa. Stanley developed schools of choirs in the various churches and chaired Music Departments in Sioux Falls and Ottawa. A Sibyl Martin Distinguished Professor of Music, he conducted the Ottawa University Concert Choir for twenty years, touring the US and the first tour to Europe.

His degrees were a B.A Music in Piano, Ottawa University, a Masters in Vocal Pedagogy and Ph.D in Choral Literature and Conducting, Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, Bloomington. He championed the music of American composers holding festivals of their music wherever he went. The list is long--Robert Wilson Hays, Will James, Powell Weaver, Thomas Beversdorf, Seth Bingham, Jester Hairston, Samuel Barber and Aarron Copland. Following his second visit to Ottawa, Dr. Copland gave a complete set of his scores to the department. Stanley founded Ye Olde Englishe Feaste which was a 28 year fixture of the Christmas Season. He was musical director for a series of Broadway Musicals, conductor of many major Choral works. He served as music critic for two newspapers, clinician and adjudicator for High School State Music Festivals. He also served on four panels of Judges for the District and Regional Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera.

Community involve-ment was an important part of his life. A member of the Arts Council Board, Chair of the Franklin County United Way, board member of the Ottawa Suzuki Strings, Chatauqua and Elderhostel leader and a Paul Harris Member of Rotary International. The DeFries retired in 1998 and moved to Lawrence. Retirement years for them were much like earlier ones, filled with many community activities. Stanley was an active member of the First American Baptist Church, singing in the choir, member of the finance committee and accompanist for the children's choir. He was Friend of the Hall Center, the Lied Center, the Dole Institute for Politics, and Theater Lawrence. And to honor their long tenure Ottawa University established The DeFries Society for the Performing Arts.

Stanley is survived by the family he loved so much. He wife, Alice Jo, son S. Lucky DeFries and wife Pam of Topeka; daughter Paula Nauman and husband Bob of Louisburg; grandchildren and great grandchildren, Eric Nauman and wife Nichole, Claire, Stella, Callan Nauman of Kearney, Missouri; Kurt Nauman and wife Tasha, Salem Nauman of Olathe, KS, Kyle Nauman and wife Kelsie, Laikynn, Aspyn, Lexie Nauman of Sawyer, KS; Ashley Broxterman and husband Luke; Sarah and Ruthie of Wakarusa, KS; Brett DeFries and wife Emily of Minneapolis, MN.

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. Online condolences made at

Published by Lawrence Journal-World on Nov. 28, 2021.
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13 Entries
Stanley was genuinely one of the nicest people I ever met. He was such a cheerleader for me and my family in our business in Ottawa. He played the Piano at Rotary and I enjoyed it every time. He will be missed. A true legend.
Steve Hasty
December 17, 2021
My condolences to Dear Alice Jo, Lucky, and Paula He was a lovely gentle sole, and I will always remember him so.
December 16, 2021
I attended Ottawa University because Dr. DeFries was there. He influenced me to be the best I could be in all things. He has left a great legacy and I know the heavenly choir is excited to have him in the choir. Our prayers and love are with the family.
Kathy & David Cain
December 6, 2021
Alice Jo, my most sincere condolences to you and the rest of the family. Dr. DeFries was my Freshman Core teacher in 1986 and also my first (and only) private voice teacher. I still have my love of music. I will be performing in a community theater production of Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn this coming weekend along with three of my eight kids -- all of whom are tappers. The love of the arts lives on! Bless you.
Jeff Poet
December 4, 2021
I was saddened by the news that Doc had passed away. He was a great teacher and friend to me and he will be missed. God bless his family and my he Rest In Peace with the singing angels in heaven.
Larry Annable
December 2, 2021
My greatest sympathies on the loss of such a dear man. My mother, Carolyn (Basile) Dodds, was very blessed by this special family. Alice Jo, I bet he loves the music in heaven.
Megan Gabor
December 2, 2021
Dr DeFries your passion for music was wonderful. You made my music experience fun. May you rest in peace.
Kimberley Scroggins Price
December 2, 2021
Sorry for your loss Dr DeFries encouraged me during my choir years in 1981 - 1984. It was good to be part of the Minstrel Yule Fest in 1983 (played tecorder), 1984 Choir Tour, and as part of the Alumni Choir during Homecoming 1999.
Nancy (Evans) Whittle, OU 1984
December 1, 2021
So sorry for your loss. Doc was a special person with many talents and a great gift for motivating young people. I was honored to know him and to count him as a friend and mentor. Rest in peace dear Doc.
Steve Heath
November 30, 2021
Stanley and Alice Jo most awesome people!! Took all the Sioux Falls students and mentored us and had us for dinner in there home every couple months at Ottawa. Special people!!! My mother Phyl back in Sioux Falls especially loved them with there time at First Baptist and Sioux Falls College.
Scott Purdy
November 30, 2021
I have fond memories of Dr. DeFries at OU. I sang in Concert Choir a couple of times and enjoyed it so much. He was a wonderful musician and a terrific Christian witness in his care and concern for all. I pray that the love of family and friends and the peace of our Savior's promises give you comfort in the days ahead.
Anne (Craig) Manna OU '71
November 30, 2021
Alice Jo, I am so sorry to hear of Stanley's death. He was a tremendous man of God. I always loved the music that you and he made together. He will be greatly missed. The music in heaven will be greater with his presence.
Wilma Engle
November 29, 2021
I was privileged to know and work with Stan as much as anyone who was not his student or a family member. Sang in the RotoChords, played in the Ottawa Little Symphony, sang in the Community Chorus, visited with him many times at Rotary. Condolences to the entire family and all his many friends. What a great person and friend. Blessings to you all. He is playing piano and conducting a Heavenly Choir right now.
Bob Green
November 28, 2021
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