Emeritus Professor of Music Eldon R. Obrecht, 90, died Monday, March 7, 2011 at Oaknoll Retirement Center in Iowa City. Eldon joined the UI music faculty in 1947, serving as professor of double bass, music appreciation, and composition until 1992. Eldon performed as principal bass in the Quad Cities Symphony until he retired in 2003.
Dr. Obrecht was born June 6, 1920, in Rolfe, Iowa; son of William and Harriet (Petronek) Obrecht. From early on Eldon chose to live a life embracing music. He graduated high school in 1936, and then attended the University of Iowa where he earned his Master’s in Composition in 1942. In 1943 he was married to Maxine Schlanbusch, who shared his passion for music. Shortly after marriage Eldon served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Upon returning home, they moved briefly to the East Coast where he was a member of the National Symphonic Orchestra in Washington D.C. In 1947, Eldon was invited back to the University of Iowa by Philip G. Clapp to pursue his doctoral degree and join the faculty. One of Eldon’s prized accomplishments was teaching the Music Appreciation Classes that were broadcast on WSUI until 1973. He influenced many students’ lives, both musicians and non-musicians alike. He was an accomplished educator, performer, composer, author, musician and most of all a loving husband and father. Eldon retired from the University in 1990, but continued to teach double bass students until 1992. Even in retirement he pursued his love for music.
Eldon’s family includes his brother, Robert Obrecht of Redding, CT; daughters, Celia Obrecht (Stephen Hutchens) of Bellingham, WA, Julia Hardie (Gary) of Waco, TX, Nancy Jephcote of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. and Martha Spangler (David) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine; parents, and half-brother, Arthur Erwin Obrecht.
A memorial service will be held 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 2nd, 2011, at the Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City with a time of visitation following the service. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Eldon Obrecht Fund at the University of Iowa School of Music, which will be used to fund a scholarship in his name. Contributions may be sent to the University of Iowa Foundation, c/o Eldon Obrecht Fund, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA 52244. Online condolences may be sent to Eldon’s family through the web @ www.gayandciha.com.