J. R. McEntyre

On May 19, 2017, J. R. McEntyre left this life to enter the life that the Lord God has provided for us. He was born in Sweetwater, TX, November 15, 1926, to John and Vera McEntyre. In 1938, they moved the family to Odessa. At Odessa High school he played French Horn in the band, played in a dance band and served as drum major. After graduation from high school he entered Texas Tech University where he earned his Bachelors degree, returning later to complete his Masters degree. His college education was interrupted by a two-year stay with the U. S. Army where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division Band as first horn, assistant director and drum major. At the end of World War II the victory parade in Washington DC was led by the 82nd Airborne Division Band with Sergeant J.R. McEntyre as drum major. After his return to Tech he played first horn in the Texas Tech band and principal horn in the Lubbock Symphony. There he met and married his wife Evelyn. After graduation in 1949 they moved to San Benito, Texas to begin his first teaching job. The following year, he moved to Odessa to become band director at the new Bowie Junior High School where he remained until 1955, when he moved to the newly opened Bonham Junior High School. In 1959 he became the band and orchestra director of the newest high school in Odessa, Permian. In addition to his teaching duties, he performed with the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra and served as guest conductor of the orchestra. He also conducted the pit orchestra for many performances of musicals for the Permian Playhouse of Odessa. In 1962 the Permian High School Band was chosen as the honor concert band in Texas and performed at the Texas Music Educators Clinic in Houston. The Permian Band was chosen outstanding concert band at the Tri-State Contest in Enid, Oklahoma, for three years running, was winner of outstanding concert band and sweepstakes awards also at the Tri-State Festival. His orchestras were winners of The Buccaneer Festival outstanding Orchestra Award for four years. In 1968 at the Buccaneer Music Festival in Corpus Christi, Permian was awarded Most Outstanding Concert Orchestra, Most Outstanding Concert Band, and the Grand Sweepstakes Award. In 1968, the band and orchestra performed at the Southwest MENC in St. Louis, Missouri. The Permian Band also was featured on nation-wide television on two occasions from the Cotton Bowl for the Dallas Cowboys and the band and orchestra performed in the Los Angeles Coliseum for the Los Angeles Rams-Green Bay Packers NFL championship game. In 1972 J. R. became Director of Music Education for Ector County Independent School District. However, directing music organizations and teaching remained his first love. He has served as president of the following professional organizations: Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Texas Music Educators Conference and the National Bandmasters Fraternity Phi Beta Mu. He also has served as Texas State Band Division Chairman and from 1969 to 1987 was Executive Secretary for District VI UIL Music. He was named Bandmaster of the Year in 1985 by The Texas Bandmasters Association and was also chosen Orchestra Director of the Year in 1987. He has co-authored and had published five method books for beginning and intermediate band students as a technical studies method. In 1987, he received an Excellence in Community Service Award in Education by the Heritage of Odessa Foundation, and in 1995, the instrumental music building at Permian High School was named the J. R. McEntyre Instrumental Music Building. On May 14, 2016, he was inducted into the Region VI Band Directors Hall of Fame in Odessa. He is survived by his wife Evelyn, his daughter Janis and son-in-law Doug Naae, his sister-in-law, Ruth Roberts, eight grandchildren, six great grandchildren, two nephews, one niece, and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his brother Robert Free, his sister Marceline Cervenka, and his children, Marcia McEntyre Zoffuto, David Wayne McEntyre, and John Howard McEntyre. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm Friday, May 26, 2017 at First Baptist Church with Rev. Buddy Monahan officiating. To commemorate his passing, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church of Odessa, 4901 Maple Avenue, Odessa, TX 79762, or the charity of your choice. Services are entrusted to Hubbard-Kelly Funeral Home.