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Robert Utterback

robert utterback
Robert W. 'Bob' Utterback age 91 of New Hampton died Thursday, February 26, 2015, at Mercy Medical Center in New Hampton. Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 2, 2015 at the United Methodist Church in New Hampton with Pastor Candie Carey presiding.Kim Hilgendorf will be the organist accompanying the congregation with 'In The Garden'. A special CD will be played of 'Leader of the Band' by Dan Fogelberg. 'Softly and Tenderly' will be song by the congregation followed by 'Till There Was You' by soloist Anna Ayers. 'The Old Rugged Cross' will be by the congregation followed by 'I've Just Called To Say I Love You' by soloist Anna Ayers. The recessional will be to a special CD of 'Semper Fidelis'. Interment will be in the New Hampton City Cemetery with grandsons Brian Hewitt, Alexander Hewitt, Drew Ayers, Ryan Utterback and Seth Utterback serving as pallbearers.Honorary pallbearers will be Jennifer Johnson, Rachel Osmanski, Sarah Utterback, Anna Ayers and Nicole Moirberg. Military rites will be conducted by the New Hampton American Legion Post. Friends may greet the family 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 1, 2015, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the church on Monday. The family requests memorials be directed towards the New Hampton High School Band Fund or The United Methodist Church in New Hampton. Bob was born August 16, 1923, in Hanford, CA, the son of Charles and Iris (Ayers) Utterback. His parents later moved to Dinuba, CA. He graduated from Dinuba High School in 1941 and enlisted in the United States Army Air Force Program in Manhattan, KS. He went to radio school and pilot training. From there he was stationed at Scott Field, IL. Bobwas boarding a bus to go overseas and someone called ‘Utterback’ you are going to play in the Post Band and so started his long career in music. He played Trumpet and French Horn until he was discharged in 1945. He met his future wife, Mary Ann Nilges while in the service and they were married at the United Methodist Church in Kirkwood, MO, on August 11, 1946. To this union five children were born. He continued his education at Truman State College, Kirksville, MO, earning his BA and MA in Instrumental Music in 1950. While in college, he started the “Bob Utterback Quintet” and students from Truman State College and the Osteopathic college played in his band. They played nearly every weekend including for the 50th Anniversary of the college. Bob taught Instrumental Music in Shell Rock, IA, from 1950 – 1953 and then taught at the New Hampton, IA, schools from 1953 – 1986. He was a very well liked teacher receiving letters from many former students. Bob was truly dedicated to his profession, thoroughly enjoying all his students. After he retired he taught vocal music at St. Joseph School in New Hampton for five years. He was a member of the United Methodist Church in New Hampton where he directed the choir for seventeen years. He rarely missed practice even during vacations and holidays.Bob also played his trumpet in the “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” band where he had the great pleasure of playing with his son and daughter and many of his former students. Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Mary Ann Utterback of New Hampton; two daughters, Judith (Alan) Hewitt of Tulsa, OK and Kathleen (Bob) Ayers of New Hampton; two sons, David (Terry) Utterback of New Hampton and Scott Utterback of Davenport; ten grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren and another on the way; one brother, James (Sally) Utterback of CA. He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Robert Utterback Jr., one brother, Raymond; one grandson, Brandon Utterback; two daughters-in-law, Debbie Utterback and Amanda Utterback.

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  1. My family only lived in New Hampton from my 1st grade to 7th grade years. This is where my brother and I were introduced to band both concert band and marching band. We were very competitive with our clarinets and both played first chair for the 1st and 2nd clarinet sections. I learned to love music especially marches and tap my foot to the beat to this day. Many great memories of my time in New Hampton and the instruction of Mr. Utterback.

  2. I’m sorry to be so late in sending my condolences. I’m probably one of the last students that Mr. Utterback inspired into a life of music – he took the part-time music teaching job my 8th grade year at St. Joseph’s after his retirement from the High School. One day during music class Mr. Utterback was demonstrating different instruments to us and when he picked up the trumpet and was about to play it he said, ‘…well, I better not blast your ears out…’ and played into his briefcase to muffle things a bit. After hearing him belt something out, I immediately knew that I needed to make that part of my life and started trumpet lessons within a couple of weeks. In 10th grade we were supposed to write a letter to a teach who had inspired us and I chose to write my letter to him. He actually wrote me back but rather than a letter, he sent me an audio cassette – he spoke on it for a bit, sort of a reply to my letter and then included some musical selections for me and I still remember what they were: His son Scott playing MacArthur Park with the New Hampton Jazz Band (which to this day is still my favorite Maynard Ferguson chart) His son Scott playing Gonna Fly Now with the High School Pep Band The New Hampton High School Band under his direction playing a Sousa March (I don’t remember which one) And a recording of former UNI Trumpet Professor, Bruce Chidester, playing Stars in the Velvety Sky with the WCF Community Band I played that tape over and over for years in my car until it broke. I also remember him keeping tabs on me through high school and my senior year State Solo and Ensemble Contest was in New Hampton. I had some trumpet scholarships riding on my performance at state (no pressure) and in the two weeks leading up to contest I developed a cold sore smack in the center of where I put the mouthpiece on my lips. He heard about this from my mom at St. Joe’s and called me to tell me that in college when they had cold sores, one of the trumpet players in the band who was a pharmacy student would give them a measles shot because cold sores were caused by the same virus…good enough for me – I went out and got a vaccination for measles a day later. Unfortunately, it didn’t kick in quickly enough and I still had the sore the day of contest. I muscled through the sore that day in all of my events, and to my surprise at the end of the day when it was time for my trumpet solo, Mr. Utterback was in my performance center with his tape recorder to hear me and record my performance. I got done and was on the verge of tears (pain of trying to force things out + not feeling good about how it had gone) and he ran right up to me and shook my hand and told me how impressed he was with my performance especially with the very visible cold sore and how far I had come in 4 years of playing. Amazingly, I ended up with a 1 rating…very unexpected all around. I went on to UNI playing in Marching and Jazz bands there, as well as playing in Senior Drum and Bugle corps after graduating. The last time I think I talked to Mr. Utterback at length was in the summer of 2000 when the ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job Band’ was playing at a restaurant in Charles City and Mr. Utterback was playing trumpet with the group. When his turn came to solo, I would have never guessed that he was probably 20+ years older than all the members of the section, sat on a stool (versus standing) for most of the concert and wore long pants and a sweater on a warm summer day. He could still ‘wail’ with the best of them! I apologize for the novel – but that was the kind of memory that Mr. Utterback inspired. While the loss undoubtedly still stings to the family, I hope the kind of inspiration he was to me and to so many other students helps ease the pain. God Bless! – Mike Bonfig

  3. My deepest sympathies to your family. Bob enriched my life with his love for music. During my high school years he was so encouraging and patient as he taught me to play flute. He honored me in my senior year with the John Phillip Souza Jazz Award. I am blessed to have known this caring and talented man.

  4. It was wonderful getting to know Bob and Mary Ann when we first moved to New Hampton. Through the school, we developed many great memories. Later on, I remember buying his big blue car. Bob asked John if he was going to keep it in a garage or covered up. I believe John told him probably not and Bob felt so bad. He really took very good care of that car. I liked to drive it, even if it was so big! From the looks of your pictures, your family has many wonderful memories! My family and I send our condolences. Connie Strom

  5. To the Utterback family: Mr. Utterback left an indelible mark on thousands of people, including students like me. I was a terrible bass clarinet player. But Mr. Utterback never exhibited anything but patience and encouragement to me. You all should be very proud of the legacy that he left. ~Pat Galligan Felder (class 1975)

  6. Your father was a mentor in many ways for me when I was in band from 1969-73. He gave me the chance to play in jazz band, introduced us to jazz greats like Buddy Rich and Count Basie ( we even saw the Basie band in concert in Charles City), and took us on trips to the state fairs of Iowa and Minnesota, where we played for Red Skelton and Bill Cosby. We were challenged in concert band to play difficult pieces like The William Tell Overture. The friendships made in band were a gift to me and many others. Band was a much needed way for kids to express themselves artistically and learn teamwork when marching at halftime on football Friday nights. Whenever I hear Norwegian Wood or the theme songs to Hawaii Five-O or Hogan’s Heroes, I smile and think of your dad.

  7. My condolences to your family. I spent four years playing and carrying that old brass tuba. It was worth it when concert band got a division 1 rating. When we ran to find you and tell you about I’ll never forget the look on your face. Joy, disbelief and your first words were, I have to call my wife. I hope you have a chance to direct an angelic band. Larry Underwood, class of 1961

  8. I was sad to hear of bobs passing. my condolences to bobs family. I was a student of bobs in band playing the French horn. lots of memories especially the 1812 overture which featured the French horn. marching band was also a lot of fun where I got to play the valve trombone which had the same fingering. I know bob always had a great passion for music which I still have today. I am sure he had a lot to do with that. dan kennedy class of ’69

  9. I was a student of Bob’s when he first came to teach at NHHS and have many great memories of my time in band and of our trips to state music contest events. One activity in particular stands out, however . . . . after our pep band had finished performing at basketball games and wrestling matches we would all go back to the band room and play for another half hour with Mr. Utterback on trumpet . . . he was good!! His willingness to go the extra mile with his students left a lasting impression and helped inspire me to keep on with my music through adulthood. . . I’m still active with my trombone in community music groups to this day. Bob Woodford . . . Class of ‘58

  10. The 1960’s were a tumultuous time musically for us kids. We went from Dean Martin and Al Hirt to The Beatles and the Stones practically overnight. In the midst of radical musical and political change, Mr. Utterback stood on his solid foundation of Swing Jazz and concert music with a dash of marching band and more patience than any teacher should be required to have. He introduced me to the trumpet in 53 years ago. I’ve made my living in music radio since 1971. I host a classical radio program in Denver. My love of music, and now my children and grand children’s love … is due in some measure to the dedication of Mr. ‘Bob’ Utterback. My only regret is that I didn’t write or call to say thank you. I like to believe he knew in his heart how much impact he had on several generations of students. In the midst of loss, I’m sure his family knows that there is a band in heaven that just welcomed one red hot trumpet player.

  11. I am Stanley James(Jim) Utterback…Bob’s ‘baby brudder’ back in the ’40’s. I ended up living with Bob & Mary Ann in January 1951 after he & I lost our mother in Shell Rock, IA. In 1952, I moved to Spokane, WA to live with our oldest brother, Raymond. He passed on the 10th of Sept. 2001(day before the ‘9-11 tragedy’) I feel at 78, I am still his ‘baby brudder’…Bob’s passing is very overwhelming. My wife, Sally and I are still reeling.

  12. Like a couple of others made a reference to in this, seeing the movie ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’ made me think of Mr. Uttterback. He was very motivational as well as inspirational, and encouraged a student to excel in all aspects of life, not just music. I wrote him about 3 years ago; he wrote me right back. He remembered me, remembered my sister, and was thrilled to know I stayed with drumming, which I do professionally part time. He was one of just a few teachers I had total respect for when I was in high school. I console myself by saying he lived a good, long time, and touched many, many lives in his teaching career. Now I also know he gets to jam with some fine musicians I know. RIP, Bob.

  13. Mr. Utterback. He taught me to play the trumpet and a whole lot more. I will never forget the trumpet trio and Buglers Holiday. A great time in my life crated by great man. Bill Noehl.

  14. One of the greatest things about certain teachers growing up was that he was always called’Mr. Utterback’ by all of the students. Great respect by all, and he is still Mr. Utterback to me.

  15. Our deepest sympathy to MaryAnn and all the family. Bob was a wonderful music teacher and friend to his students and to our community.. May he rest in peace. We enjoyed dancing to the band with al the Utterback’s. Thank you for all the beautiful music. Jack and Betty Gorman

  16. Our deepest sympathy to the entire Utterback Family on their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Bill and Joanne Rausch

  17. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful life well lived. Your family, friends, and the world will miss you Bob! There just aren’t the right words to say we feel your loss.We can only offer you our support and sympathy and our hearts to share you grief.

  18. Mr. Utterback was my first band director in Shell Rock. He was GREAT!! I asked him one day what I could play to get into band quick. He said a glockenspiel (bell lyre). I got the bell lyre and was in his band. When he announced he was leaving Shell Rock, I asked him what I could do to make him stay. He said play the oboe. I said I would, but he said no. Hated to see him leave. He was a very special instructor and person. Think of the times in his band often. Wonderful memories. I am so glad he was in Shell Rock for those few years.

  19. My grandpa’s passion for music & his dedication to inspiring that same love of music in each & every one of his student’s hearts was boundless & unparalleled. A true once-in-a-generation teacher of the arts. He did it for THE LOVE, & that love never faded or burned out. I have been so profoundly amazed by all the stories of gratitude rolling in & the moving tributes from former students repeating the same dedication, ‘he was the best, he changed my life, he was the reason I found my way to music & why I still play my horn today.’ I, too, cherished the private post-retirement sax lessons I had with my Grandpa & still have all the handwritten sheet music he drew up for me, but I also deeply cherish & will fiercely miss my long talks with him, his incredible stories & endless jokes, his poems & his funny voices. He always played me music, every single time I went over to see him – cassette tapes he had made of Sousa marches & big band swing & dixieland jazz & recordings of himself playing a trumpet solo or singing every part of a barbershop quartet. He had a beautiful voice & an even more magnificent heart. This was our ritual. The amazement & gratitude I feel over the luck I struck to have him as my grandfather… it’s overwhelming my heart. His positivity, his humor, his kindness & endless encouragement, his charm & his bright twinkling inner light – that he had until his final moments – are sacred life lessons. ‘Never look down on anyone unless you’re picking ’em up.’ Music & love kept him young. Gramps was a hero, a real-life Mr. Holland’s Opus, the leader of the band.

  20. Bob ALWAYS had that wonderful smile that he shared with all of us. One of the kindest professionals that I had the pleasure of working with over the years. Want to extend our sympathy to Mary Ann and family. He had a GREAT influence on the many students that were lucky enough to work with him! Dave and Kay Rasmussen

  21. MaryAnn and family, Our deepest sympathies to all of you. Bob certainly influenced and dedicated much of his time with so many students over the years. Not only did he share his love of music with so many, he was a fine citizen in the community. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, he has left a legacy that will be cherished by his family and friends. And with baton in his hand, let the heavenly music play on…RIP, Bob.

  22. I am so sad to hear that Mr. Utterback passed away. Mr. Utterback was the best band director in the state of Iowa. He gave all of us the love of music for the rest of our lives. He had a passion and desire for each student to be the very best. The love and passion for music that he taught me I try to give to my band students. My thoughts and prayers to the family. Kevin Masemann

  23. Our sympathy to Mary Ann and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your loss of husband and father. Louise and Donn Harris

  24. Our sympathy and prayers to Mary Ann and family. Bob will be missed by many in the community. We can just hear that heavenly band playing.

  25. When I was 16 Bob tracked me down in school. I had a stuttering problem and had been involved in band in elementary school. He wanted me to get back into band. I agreed and he began working with me. He told me that many famous people like Jimmy Stewart had the same speaking trouble. He sat me on a drum set and told me that he bet when I played I would be able to talk without stuttering. He was right. Man I was hooked. It ended up helping me get over my speech impediment plus I received many awards including The Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. I continue to play today at 57 years old. This Man changed my life and made me confident to keep moving forward. I personally met Buddy Rich and played with Maynard Ferguson….What a GREAT MAN Robert Utterback was in my life…God Bless him and his family…

  26. After talking to Judy and Kathleen yesterday..All I can repeat is ‘wow’- I’m sure you know what that means. Amazing man in so many ways. In deepest sympathy. Steve and shellie

  27. Shellie–several times Dad was whispering ‘wow’ in his finals days..I truly believe he was seeing his ‘next assignment’!!! Thank you for your kind words.

  28. I had Bob as a band instructor and vocal music teacher back in 1950. Would definitely be listed as a teacher that made a very positive influence on my life as well as a lot of fun. We visited he and Mary Ann last year and certainly glad we did. My sympathy to Mary Ann and all his family. He leaves big shoes to fill in today’s society. Sandy Adair Soash

  29. My sympathy to Mary Ann and the family. Bob was truly a great teacher, both in band and in everyday life. He set a great example for all to live by. He has now joined the heavenly band. Mary Wegner

  30. So many great memories – marching band, concert band, contests, Sioux Falls, Disneyworld, Tallcorn Festival and more – all because of the dedication, perseverance, and enthusiasm of one man. Your love of music lives on through all your former students and we pass that to our children. I still play my flute and my daughter plays trumpet. Rest in peace Bob. What joyful sounds resonate in heaven and earth because of you. My sympathies to Kathy, Scott and all. Ellen Boos Mueller

  31. Mr. Utterback really was the best. He created opportunities for his students to showcase their talents, and he had the confidence in them to allow them to shine. I recall the many hours spent in the band room practicing for jazz band with Mr. Utterback, and then getting to perform on TV and at a couple of area colleges, and, of course, right there in New Hampton. My deepest condolences go out to the family, especially to my great friend and classmate, Scott Utterback. Scott Visker

  32. Mr. Utterback was simply the best! He gave his students the opportunity to succeed in a safe environment and he supported us in all of our efforts. Our jazz experiences can never be replaced or forgotten, and I am blessed to have learned from and was able to call ‘mentor and friend.’ My sincere thoughts and prayers are to his family.

  33. My thoughts are with all of you. Bob was a wonderful man, friend, and teacher. I will always remember fondly high school band and especially the trips to see Maynard Ferguson. Bob touched a lot of people in his life. Doug Schueth and kids

  34. Our sincere sympathy goes out to the Utterback family. I marched many of Memorial Day Parades as a Member of the Legion Color Guard with Robert directing his band. His music was great to March with. Larry

  35. Mrs. Utterback and the Utterback family – I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Utterback’s passing. My best memories from high school are related to being in band; having a fantastic band director was a large part of that. Mr. Utterback gave so much of himself to his students; his time, his energy, and his passion for music. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

  36. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, he will always be in your heart and memories. Jack ‘& Nancy Anderson

  37. Our deepest sympathy to MaryAnn and all of Robert’s children. So sorry to hear of your loss. Cherish all those memories, remember to laugh when you think of some of these. Robert, I’m sure has a wonderful band playing today to welcome him to his eternal home. God Bless All of You!! Ovey and Duce Johnson

  38. Regards to the Utterback family. Bob was an interesting and kind man. We enjoyed working with him at NHHS.

  39. My sincere sympathy to Mr Utterback’s entire family-I have wonderful memories of him as my band instructor. He was a wonderful man and loved his family. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  40. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Thanks


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