John Wallace Mabry, 79, of Spartanburg, died Friday, February 3, 2006.
Born February 9, 1926, in Spartanburg, he was the son of the late George Dean Mabry and Martha Kate (Johnson) Mabry.
He served in World War II as a nose-gunner in the U.S. Air Force.
Mr. Mabry received his bachelor of music education from Stetson University, a master's degree in piano from Columbia University in New York, and a specialist's degree in administration from the University of South Carolina.
He began his career as a professional educator in Spartanburg School District 7, and for the next 21 years developed the choral program at Spartanburg High School into one of the most prestigious in the Southeast.
From 1973 until his retirement in 1988, he served as the music coordinator for Spartanburg District 7 schools. Under his guidance and leadership, music specialists were added and classes increased. School music budgets saw healthy increases, and an overall awareness of the importance of music in the curriculum was established.
He was professionally active as a conductor, composer, arranger, musician and spokesperson for the arts in the community and region. He served as organist and choir director for Calvary Baptist Church for 49 years, held the position of associate music director and chorus director of the Spartanburg Little Theatre for 11 seasons, and was a board member of the Music Foundation for Spartanburg Philharmonic and was a charter member of the Artists' Guild of Spartanburg.
He was selected to be a conductor of the South Carolina All-State Chorus and served as the music director for an All-County Chorus that performed for the inauguration of Gov. Donald Russell. He was choral director for the Converse College Opera Workshop and in 2001 completed a 16-year tenure as an audition panelist for the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts, whose Board of Visitors includes, among others, Carol Lawrence, Carlos Mosely, Nigel Redden, Joanne Woodward and Michael York. In 2001, he was inducted into the South Carolina Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.
Survivors include one brother, George Robert Mabry (Elsie) of Charleston, S.C.; two sisters, Mary Jo Mabry and Martha Dean Mabry Scruggs, both of Spartanburg; two nieces, Deana Scruggs Vander Aarde (Tom) of Northfield, Minn., and Cindy Mabry Holland of Costa Rica; three nephews, Dr. John Mark Scruggs of Columbia, S.C. and James Hodges "Chip" Scruggs II (Karen) of Marion, S.C., and George Robert Mabry II (Suzette) of Plano, Texas; and a foster brother, Walter Daniel Ballard (Frances) of Spartanburg.
Visitation was 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, February 5, 2006 at Floyds Greenlawn Chapel.
Funeral services were 2:00 p.m. Monday, February 6, 2006 at the Chapel, conducted by Rev. Chip Scruggs and Rev. Sal Barone. Burial was in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
Memorials could be sent to the Music Foundation for Spartanburg Philharmonic, 385 S. Spring Street, Spartanburg, SC 29306.
Floyd's Greenlawn Chapel
Spartanburg Herald Journal
Published: Sunday, February 5, 2006
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