Dr. James Edwin Croft
1929 - 2012
Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home Riggins Road
1737 Riggins Road
Tallahassee, FL
Dr. James Edwin Croft

Dr. James Edwin Croft 82, died September 6th with his wife of 61 years by his side. With Jim's passing so goes a life filled with compassion, acceptance and understanding. His love for his wife and family was felt by each of them every day. Jim was born September 15, 1929 the oldest of 3 children to Hugh and Marion Croft in Vinton, Iowa. His family moved to Mt Vernon Iowa where he graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1947. He went on to Cornell College in Mt Vernon where he found his love for music and education, at the end of his junior year he and his sweetheart of 3 years, Diana Pringle married, she was an elementary school teacher. After his graduation in 1951 they both got teaching jobs in Traer Iowa. He loved his job but felt he needed more education so he started work on a master's degree from Iowa State Teacher's college (which he later finished while in Oshkosh). A fellow graduate student encouraged him to apply for the band job at Oshkosh High School in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Thus, started an illustrious career including the opportunity for this band to be the first high school band to play behind the iron curtain. While in Oshkosh he took time to earn a PHD at The University of Oklahoma graduating in 1970, In 1972 he was hired as Director of Bands at University of South Florida, he remained there for 8 years before he accepted his final job at Florida State University where he stayed until his retirement in 2003.

There simply is no room to list all of Jim's civic and career affiliations, awards and memberships. The Midwest National Band Clinic was probably dearest to his heart but he traveled the world creating beautiful music with so many wonderful people.

He is survived by his wife Diana Croft and his two children Tim Croft and Nancy Croft-Pierson, and his three beloved grandchildren, Elizabeth, Sean and Melissa Pierson.

A memorial will be held at a future date. The family asks that in lieu of flowers you make donations to: Croft Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund College of Music Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1180, or USF Foundation (Mr. and Mrs. James Croft Music Education Endowment) USF College of the Arts, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, FAH110 Tampa, Florida 33620. The family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Tallahassee Democrat on Sep. 9, 2012.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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45 Entries
Dr. C was my band director at USF. I felt lost in the crowd in the music department, and somehow Dr. C noticed me more than I realized. He invited me to play trumpet in his church on Sunday morning. I was so stunned that regarded me that highly that I have never forgotten him. When I pursued my own teaching career, he impacted me greatly. Many thanks to Dr. Croft.
Don Brannon
September 9, 2013
A kind man and respected educator. Thank you for your music, and for your impact upon so many musicians.
Allyson Applebaum Wells
February 21, 2013
My Dear Friend Nancy and Family...I am saddened by the loss of your dad. My dad passed away this past April. I am with you in sorrow and friendship. <3
Anne Marie Abeltin
January 7, 2013
I was solo clarinetist in mr. Croft's first band when he came to Oshkosh high school in 1953. He was a great mentor and friend to me. He inspired me to major in music at the Lawrence conservatory . I have always been grateful for his help and inspiration. Thanks Mr. Croft.
Helen Grosnick Kiesow
December 14, 2012
This week I attended my granddaughter's Christmas Prism Program at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, FL. (What an extravaganza!) I saw that the concert was dedicated to Dr. James Croft. I wondered if this is the same Dr. Croft I knew and he is! Music has been an important part of my life since I was 12 years old. Dr. Croft taught a Music Appreciation class in 1956 or 1957 at Oshkosh High. He had a deep passion for instilling the love of music in everyone he touched. I continued on to have my own band, play the accordion professionally, and work as a musician for several years. I will be forever grateful to him, and people like him, who influence our young to become enriched through music.
Ronald Smith Melbourne,FL/Oshkosh, WI
December 10, 2012
Such a great light he brought to those who were blessed to know him. His memory will live in our hearts until we meet again.
Patty Rasmussen-Flierl
October 29, 2012
When I was in 9th grade, Dr. Croft conducted the Florida All-State Band I played in. He was one of the people who inspired me to go on to study music. I will always be thankful for his encouragement and his ability to coax pure expression out of teenagers.
Elizabeth Marschner-Schierling in Germany
October 28, 2012
I played in the Oshkosh High School orchestra under Dr. Croft, graduating in 1972. I am thankful for his influence in my life, inspiring me to pursue a career as a string teacher and orchestra director. My sympathies to his family and friends.
Nancy (Sorenson) Powers
October 19, 2012
I was one of Dr. Croft's students from 1970 to 1972. I can still hear his voice, as though I had only left rehearsal yesterday, and it's been more than 40 years. I thank him for his lasting contribution to my arts education. My condolences to his family.
Karen Roesler
October 18, 2012
I was a member of the band at Oshkosh High School 1960-1963. Mr. Croft inspired my best efforts while developing my life-long appreciation for music. Fond memories include our many band concerts as well as a band trip to Traer, Iowa and the Tall Corn Festival at Iowa State. My sympathies to his family, friends, and the many lives he touched.
Marjorie (Robl) Sutter
October 14, 2012
Dr. Croft was a major influence in my musical life. Thomas A. Guenther, Sr., Percussionist, Oshkosh High School Concert Band, 1967, 1968, 1969. "Drummers should be felt, not heard" - J. Croft
October 14, 2012
Jim and Di were such wonderful neighbors. When my husband was dying, Jim was always available to help in any way that he could. I shall never forget his kindness. He really knew the true meaning of being a neighbor.
Jean Williams
October 14, 2012
You inspired so many to be the best they could be...in every way. We loved you, Mr. Croft.
Patty Rasmussen Flierl
September 15, 2012
Mr. Croft was my high school band teacher at Oshkosh 1963-1966. He was much loved and so very much fun. I will always remember what a loving teacher he was. The heavenly music is now greatly improved. God bless you, Mr. Croft. Prayers to his family.
Patty Rasmussen Flierl
September 15, 2012
I feel truly blessed to have known Dr Croft and played in the Big Bend Community Orchestra for 3 years under his direction. It is not hard to see how he has so many admiring friends and colleges. He will be greatly missed by many. My condolences to his loving family.
Ginny Densmore
September 14, 2012
You knew him as Dr. Croft or Jim. I knew him as Dad. Fifty six years, my best man, my first horn teacher. So many wonderful memories.
Tim Croft
September 13, 2012
I was so sad to hear of Dr. Croft's death. I can't say that I have ever met a more humble, authentic, genuine individual. He was a gentleman in every sense, and his love and devotion to his wife and family were palpable in every interaction. Having a
conversation with him meant that he was totally focused on talking to you and listening to you; an art and a rare gift in contemporary society. The legion of lives he touched through his talent, his kindness, and his joyful living? Graced beyond measure.
Laurie Nicholson
September 12, 2012
Di, Nancy, and Tim,
I am so sorry for your loss. I'm remembering his laugh!
Carrie Sowiak (Lalk)
September 12, 2012
Students and teachers who had the opportunity to work with Jim realize what he had to offer. As a first year teacher in Oshkosh, Jim was a tremendous help in giving me my start. Verna and I enjoyed a special relationship with his family for the last 54 years.
Roger Lalk
September 11, 2012
Hi Ms.Di it is beverly i took care of you when u hurt your hip i am so sorry to here about Jim but i want you to know my thoughts are with you and your family Love you Ms.Di.
Beverly Metzs
September 11, 2012
James Croft was one of the very best humans I had ever met. His mentorship was provided with the greatest concern for each individual. In my case, he was as much like a father as a mentor. I pray that the Diana, Tim and Nancy and the rest of that exceptional family experiences the oft requested peace (and comfort) that exceeds all understanding.

With love and gratitude,
John and Alisa Carmichael
September 11, 2012
Dear Mrs. Croft, Tim, and Nancy and Family,
What an inspiration Dr. Croft was to so many students, colleagues, and audiences! I will immensely miss our September 15 conversations!
Jo Ann Schoblaski
September 10, 2012
Dear Di, Nancy and Tim,
I have fond memories of your dad and your entire family. My prayers are with you at this very sad time. Love, Lynelle Weisz (Lalk)
Lynelle Weisz
September 10, 2012
I took private oboe lessons from Dr Croft. He taught me so much that I don't know why I didn't continue playing. His love for music was undying. I'd come over for a lesson and he'd say, did you get a chance to practice and you know I didn't but said yes anyway and he could always tell. He'd say, I thought you practiced. I also believe that he had my brother Bruce in band and I know that he had the deepest respect for Dr Croft. I will surely notify him of this. My thoughts and prayers will be with you at this time.
Faye Lautenschlager-Adams
September 10, 2012
I can't begin to express what Jim meant to me and my family during the 50's and 60's. Because of him, I spent 35 years teaching music. He'll always have a special place in my heart. My sympathy is sent to you, Diana, and your children.
Sue Spalding Davies
September 10, 2012
Prayers for the family at this time. Dr. Croft was treasured because he treated everyone like a treasure. He was always in the moment with whomever we was speaking.
September 10, 2012
Dr. Croft was truly an inspiring man. As a student in the early 1990's, I remember a man who could direct a Sousa march like no other, was always approachable, demanding, and caring. His stories from Oshkosh were great. He will be greatly missed. He touched the lives of so many. I am honored and proud to say that I played bassoon in his bands, and also and antique Sarrusaphone on occasion.
Michael Wright
September 10, 2012
Thank you, Dr. Croft. You were an inspiration.
Carol Allard Boyce
September 10, 2012
Jim Croft touched the lives of thousands of musicians over the course of career. I remember him in the early stages of his career when he was director of bands at Oshkosh High School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I was attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at the time and I remember attending many of his concerts and watching him conduct this wonderful high school band which he had literally transformed through his genius. When my career took off as a composer, I was blessed to have Jim as a supporter of my music. He will be greatly missed!
David Gillingham
September 10, 2012
Thank you for your standard of excellence and passion for music. Your dedication and love for music will live in our hearts forever.
James Reginald Jackson
September 10, 2012
Thank you for being such an inspirational teacher and wonderful person. You've touched so many lives and the stories will live on for decades - our thoughts are with your family, and also the countless students and colleagues who were fortunate enough to cross paths with you. RIP Dr Croft!
Carla Copeland-Burns
September 9, 2012
I lived in the music department during my years at Oshkosh High. Jim (it bothers me to call him by his first name but he was such a good friend in addition to being a great teacher) never accepted anything but a 110% effort. Many of us came from that program to teach music to children and his inspiration blossomed. Jim will be missed so much but no one could ever take away what he meant to those of us who were fortunate enough to have him as our teacher.
Dan Carpenter
September 9, 2012
Jim will be missed by his many friends in Australia. His visits here were always greeted with much enthusiasm and anticipation. Such a warm and generous man of music. Our thoughts are with Di and family.
Rob Wagner
September 9, 2012
Always a musical inspiration to us in the band world! I know a kind and caring man that will be missed!
Deborah Bradley
September 9, 2012
Dear Dr. Croft, you meant so very much to me! Rest in Peace great man. Bob O'Lary
Bob O'Lary
September 9, 2012
Please accept our sincere condolences.
Steve Edwards and family
September 9, 2012
As a student of Dr. Croft's in the late 80s, I know the world will miss such an inspiring band director and teacher. Praying for comfort for your family.
Casey Tremor Bates
September 9, 2012
Your impact on music in the Oshkosh community continues to resonate 40 years later. You taught, encouraged, and challenged a generation of students to value and perform great music. Thank you.
Shirley Brabender Mattox
September 9, 2012
Enjoyesd our days together with you and your wife and the wonderful trip to Detroit with the band and Jack Jarrett.
Ken & Luella Biendarra-Oshkosh
September 9, 2012
We could ALWAYS follow your downbeat! What a wonderful human being. We will miss you.
Candalee Jones & Jan DeLaney
September 9, 2012
Dr. Croft, thank you for sharing your amazing musical talents with the world. We are all better off for having known you. The students you worked with on your last trip to Oshkosh in 2009 have been touched forever and still talk about you as someone who greatly impacted their lives. You have also taught and inspired me to become a better musician. Thank you!

Dan Singer
Oshkosh West HS Band Director
Daniel Singer
September 9, 2012
Rest in peace, Dr. Croft, from one of your last brass players at Oshkosh High School in 1971-72. We are all better people because of you.
Randy Zentner
former Vocal Music Director,
Oshkosh North High School
6-12 Vocal Music Coordinator,
Oshkosh Area School District
September 9, 2012
May God Bless Mrs. Croft, Tim and Nancy as you mourn the loss of a husband and father, and a man whose talents, dedication and thirst for excellence inspired so many. There are so many fond memories from the Oshkosh days, and I owe so much to the mentorship and leadership Dr. Croft provided me in the formative years. He leaves a legacy of remarkable achievement that has guided myself and countless others over his long and distinguished career. With deep respect and admiration...
Prayerfully, Dan Radley
Dan Radley
September 9, 2012
Thank-you for many musical experiences as a high school and college student. I will never forget you.
Frank McCaskill
September 9, 2012
Thank you for all that you have done for us all. You will always be cherished, respected,loved and admired, by all of us, YOUR STUDENTS. May God Bless your entire family and I look forward to the heavenly occasion of playing in your band again one day.Keep a spot open for me.
Your Oshkosh West Drum major, class of 1970 Steve Verhoeven
Steve Verhoeven
September 8, 2012
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