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 Joyce Elaine <I>Eilers</I> Bacak

Joyce Elaine Eilers Bacak

Birth
Mooreland, Woodward County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 2 Jun 2009 (aged 67)
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Burial Mooreland, Woodward County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 38228451 · View Source
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Joyce Elaine Eilers Bacak, noted choral composer, passed away June 2, 2009, in Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. She had been in ill health the last few years but became more critically ill the last two weeks. At her request, there will be no services. At the family's request, any memorial donations in Joyce's honor should go to the donator's choral program of choice – church choirs, university choirs, grade school, middle school or high school choirs, and community choirs – whatever they choose, as a way to celebrate Joyce's love of music and her life of accomplishment. Joyce's body will be cremated and her ashes will rest with her parents' graves in Mooreland, Oklahoma. Joyce Eilers Bacak is recognized as one of the top choral composers in the country, with hundreds of compositions and arrangements in her catalog, best-selling methods for teaching sight-singing, and for her mentoring of young composers. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1963 from Oklahoma City University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Oregon in 1967, where she specialized in Music Education. She taught in the Oklahoma public schools and in Oregon and Washington for ten years at both elementary and secondary levels and was an instructor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She was a popular visiting lecturer and clinician, appearing before many state music education conventions and universities including University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, Boise State University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, University of Kansas City-Missouri, University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, and Arizona State University. Her music is published by Schmitt Music, Studio PR, Heritage Press, Shawnee Press, Gentry Publications, Carl Fischer, Jenson Publications and Hal Leonard Corporation. Some of her most popular works include "My Lord," "Brighten My Soul with Sunshine," "Go Ye Now in Peace," and "The Irish Blessing." Emily Crocker, Vice President of Choral Publications at Hal Leonard Corporation, said, "Joyce was my teacher, my editor and my friend. She was incredibly generous with her time and encouragement of young composers. Her music had a wonderful way of touching the heart. Thousands, maybe millions of singers have been enriched by her contribution to the choral art and she leaves a lasting legacy of beauty." Joyce Elaine Eilers was born July 28, 1941, to Fredrich Gerhard Eilers and Pearl Eva Valentine (Dail) in their rural home southwest of Mooreland, Oklahoma. She was the fifth of seven children (three girls and four boys). Joyce attended the Mooreland schools for 12 years, excelling in music and scholastics. She received many, many honors in music contests, vocal and instrumental. All of the Eilers family members were very active in the Methodist Church and in the community. Joyce received a Banning Scholarship and attended OCU in Oklahoma City. She graduated with a Degree in Music in 1963. She was a member of the OCU Choir and played the bass clarinet in the Symphonic Band. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, a national honorary music organization. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority. After graduation, Joyce taught music education and choir at public schools in Seminole and Weatherford, Oklahoma, before moving to the Northwest where she taught music in Corvallis, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington. She often stated that she began writing music out of necessity when she needed songs to match the vocal ranges of her young choir singers. She wrote songs for all occasions – patriotic, religious, romance, ballads, Christmas, Hanukah and other holidays, historical, and for simply silly and fun times. She instinctively knew what children liked to sing, and she was famous for her humorous and historical story-telling teaching style. She expanded her composing for adult choirs as well, and she became well-known internationally. One of the highlights for the Eilers family was a special concert in honor of Joyce's parent's fiftieth wedding anniversary on June 2, 1979. The four surviving children (June, Jean, Joyce and Lowell) serenaded their parents, singing Joyce's music to a packed church. And now, thirty years later, Joyce joins them in heaven on their anniversary. Joyce married Walter Bacak December 5, 1981, in Corvallis, Oregon. They lived in Tacoma, Washington. Early in their marriage they bought a plane and Walt flew them all over the country for Joyce's gigs. Joyce is predeceased by her parents, her sister June Braly, and three brothers – Dennis Dail Eilers, Floyd Evart Eilers, and Raymond Lee Eilers. She is survived by her beloved 18-year-old cat, Bandit, and husband, Walt Bacak. Also survived by sister Jean Burns and her husband, Charlie, of Stillwater, Oklahoma; and their children – Douglas and wife Nickie Burns and their children Eric and Whitney Burns all of Norman Oklahoma; Deborah Cochran, husband Larry and son Drew Cochran of Tulsa; Taylor Burns and wife LouAnn of Tulsa; Joyce's brother Lowell Eilers and his wife Betty Sue of Mooreland, Oklahoma. Their children Christy and husband Brian Poston, their children Hunter, Fischer, and Trapper; Jeremy Eilers and wife Sarah, their children Madelene, Raymond Lee, Hannah, and Elizabeth; Justin Eilers and wife Julie, their daughter Emily. Her deceased sister June Braly's husband, Dr. Berton Braly of Philomath, Oregon, their children and their families –Susan Loebner and husband Neil and son Ben of West Linn, Oregon, Paul Braly and wife Jacquie of Gold Beach, Oregon, Jennifer Johannsen, their children Brook, Courtney, and Adam; Margaret Kerrigan and husband Kevin of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, their children Patrick and Brandon; David Braly and wife Heidi, their children Ian and Max of Philomath, Oregon. Also surviving is Joyce's Aunt Floy Bula of Spokane, Washington; and cousin, Sister Patrice Eilers of Seattle, Washington who provided much strength and comfort. Joyce is also survived by other great- nieces and nephews, aunts, and cousins. Also her many long-time friends, including childhood friends Terry Baransy of San Francisco and John Baransy of Woodward; Karen and Deuane Kuenzi, Carol Bucholz who spent many hours sharing meals and playing cards, her good friend and neighbor Elaine Crouse, who shared her wonderful flower garden and great love of animals, and her caregivers Heidi Fabre and Terri Connor, who showed great compassion and friendship to Joyce in her final months.


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  • Created by: MillieBelle
  • Added: 11 Jun 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 38228451
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Joyce Elaine Eilers Bacak (28 Jul 1941–2 Jun 2009), Find A Grave Memorial no. 38228451, citing Mooreland Cemetery, Mooreland, Woodward County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by MillieBelle (contributor 46628380) .