RALPH PAARMANN (1924-2013)
Ralph Paarmann passed away after a brief illness on Feb. 15, 2013. There was a private family service on Monday, Feb. 18, at 1:00 p.m. at Weerts Funeral Home in Davenport. A memorial service will be scheduled
at a later time.
Ralph Paarmann was born in Davenport Iowa, to William and Hulda Paarmann. He was the youngest of nine children in a very musical family. His father, William, taught violin privately and in the Davenport schools for many years and was concertmaster for the Tri-City (now Quad-City) Symphony Orchestra.
Ralph was an outstanding euphonium, trombone, (and violin!) performer. His high school band director was F.E. Mortiboy, and he studied with William Gower while at the University of Iowa. Ralph served in the U.S. Army overseas during World War II and attained rank of Staff Sergeant. Following that he attended the University of Iowa and received his B.A. degree in 1950 and the M.A. degree in 1953. Since that time he has been a loyal Hawkeye fan!
Ralph started his long teaching and conducting career in Williamsburg, Iowa, from 1950-54. He also met and married Florence Lamansky there. Ralph and Florence had just celebrated their 60th anniversary this past August. Ralph then taught in Anamosa 1954-56, Cedar Rapids 1956-58, and finally returned to Davenport in 1958. He taught at Williams Junior High School 1958-60, and when West High School opened in 1960, he was appointed Director of Bands. He held that position until 1989 when he retired. Ralph continued to guest conduct and actively mentor through 2004.
In 1990-91 he and Jerry Kinney got the idea for a Retired Directors Band, and IBARD (Iowa Bandmasters Association of Retired Directors) became a permanent committee of IBA. Ralph Paarmann was the first chairman of IBARD until 2003, when he passed the gavel to Lee Nelson at the May Conference.
Ralph and his bands have received numerous honors through the years. Ralph also directed the church choir at First Christian Church in Davenport for 40 years. With all of Ralph's honors, he was most proud of his four children -- Laura Paarmann (flute), Julie Stolt (clarinet), CW5 Douglas Paarmann (euphonium), Bill Paarmann (trombone) -- and wife, Florence. Ralph loved spending time with family, woodworking, traveling to and photographing the National Parks, listening to music, and eating out every night (if possible!).
Online condolences may be expressed to Ralph's family by visiting his obituary at www.WeertsFH.com. Memorial donations may be made out to the IBA Endowment Fund and sent to Gene Gross, 1520 Reagan Dr., Ames, IA 50010-4377.
Ralph's IBA legacy will continue through IBARD, which includes his passion for mentoring and a great time making music with old and new friends.