Fred Junkin passed away Friday, March 10th, following a courageous struggle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Don Beth; a son, Jerry and his wife Stephanie, of Austin; a granddaughter, Allison Owen and her husband Jeffery of Austin, and a great granddaughter, Madeline Owen of Austin, in addition to two brothers, Samuel MacDowell Junkin and his wife Adele, and Edward Dixon Junkin and his wife Nancy. He was preceded in death by a son, James Whittington Junkin, and by his parents, Frederick Hastings Junkin and Martha MacDowell Junkin of Kerrville.
Fred Junkin was born on July 9, 1927 in Corpus Christi. He attended public schools in Kerrville from grades 1 to 7, and then graduated from Schreiner Institute High School in 1944. He served in the Asiatic theatre with a Navy band in Japan until discharged in 1946. He attended The University of Texas, graduating with honors in 1950. During the 1951 school year he was band director at Teague, while finishing his master's degree. From 1951 to 1954, he was the band director at Hogg Junior High School in Tyler.
On June 4, 1953, he married Don Beth Whittington and in 1954, they moved to Victoria where Fred became Supervisor of Music and band director at Victoria High School. As was stated when he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame for Outstanding Bandmasters: 'Think of Victoria, you think of Fred Junkin. Think of Fred Junkin, and you think of Victoria. That is what 30 years at one school can bring. Mix that tenure with performance time as a clarinetist, arranger, orchestra conductor and TMEA officer. The old adage is true, if you want something done, ask someone who is busy and they will do the job well.' Several pages would need to be used to list the honors and recognition which were afforded the Victoria bands under his leadership. 93 First Divisions, 24 Sweepstakes, a performance at Midwest International Band Clinic in Chicago in 1977, a concert for the joint American and Japanese Bandmasters Associations in Tempe, AZ in 1980, the Outstanding Band in class at the Six Flags Over Texas Festival in 1983, to name but a few.
During his 30 years at Victoria High School and in the time following his retirement in 1985, Fred served as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the state and nation. He received the Mac Award from the American School Band Directors Association in 1974. He was selected for membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 1979, and in 1984 he was named Texas Bandmaster of the Year. Additionally, he served as Principal Clarinet, Personnel Manager and Assistant Conductor of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra for many years. An active performer, he also played in many jazz performance groups and managed a big band and combo for several years as well.
Fred served on the board of the Texas Music Educators Association from 1960 to 1968, serving as president in 1965 and 1966. In retirement, Fred was ever the loyal Longhorn, frequently attending performances of the UT Wind Ensemble and Longhorn football games. He was an active participant in the life of Grace Presbyterian Church, which he devotedly served in the roles of deacon, elder and long-time member of the chancel choir. He truly loved fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast and was a fixture in Port O'Connor fishing circles. He leaves behind an adoring family, a legion of dear friends and countless former students. One of those students summed up their feelings by saying, 'A large portion of the musician I am today is due to Fred Junkin. He taught us that there is a difference between simply playing notes and truly making music. I will forever be grateful for all those lessons.' Fred Junkin and Victoria will always be synonymous.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dan Fultz officiating. Private Burial services will be held by the family. Memorial donations may be made to Grace Presbyterian Church or the Victoria Symphony. Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.colonial funeralhomevictoria.com