Obituary of Donald W. Beene
Donald W. Beene died February 21, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, Douglas and Minnie (Brown) Beene; his older brother, Douglas Beene; his daughter, Deborah Kaye Beene; and his stepdaughter Lynn Ellen Aberger.
He is survived by his wife, Ellen, his son Mark (Lori) of Tempe, AZ; two granddaughters, Kayla (Garrett) Drown of Chandler, AZ, and Marissa Beene of Boulder, CO; his brother Daryl (Debbie) Beene of Lawrence, KS; as well as Ellen’s children R. Joseph (Shirley) Hanold, of Tucson, AZ; and Jonathan (Susan) Hanold of Dallas, TX, and granddaughters, Stephanie (Nick) Shultz, and their two children Henry and Sally (Don’s great grandchildren) of Washington, DC, and Marie Aberger of Denver, CO.
Don was born November 10, 1935, in Lawrence, KS. He attended the University of Kansas, graduating with degrees in cello performance and music education. While in graduate school he began a career as a public-school string instrument teacher and high school orchestra conductor. He conducted the Lawrence high school orchestra for eight years. During these years the orchestra was honored as the “Kansas High School Orchestra of the Year”. He was active in Plymouth Congregational Church, serving on the church council and as Sunday School Superintendent. During this period, he was also active as a professional string bass jazz musician, performing occasionally with well-known artists such as Elaine May, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. In 1965, Gabor Rejto invited him to be a member of a select Pablo Casals’s cello choir performing in Dallas, TX.
Moving in 1967 to serve as a central office administrator in the Los Alamos, NM schools taking on roles of Music Supervisor and Activity Director. However, his first love was conducting the high school and civic orchestras. They performed by invitation for state, regional and national Music Educators National Conference (MENC) conventions and were considered one of the elite performing groups in the southwest. Some of his personal honors include serving as President of the New Mexico MENC and the American String Teachers Association (ASTA); southwestern states divisional president for MENC; and he served six years on the national MENC Board of Directors. He was a frequent lecturer/clinician at MENC/ASTA meetings and was considered an authority on string instrument pedagogy in the public schools. He co-authored the current guide for public school string teachers published by MENC and ASTA. The Los Alamos Rotary Club honored him with their Paul Harris International Award. It is an honor he cherished.
Don retired to Tucson, AZ, in 1990, and became active again as a cellist. He performed in local amateur orchestras and enjoyed many years of studying and performing the literature for piano trios and quartets with friends from the Tucson Symphony. Don enjoyed planning his and Ellen’s travels, including many trips to Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, China, and Russia and other exciting destinations. For many years their schedule included two summer months in Carlsbad, CA, and an early fall trip to the Northeast.
A Memorial service will be held March 25, 2022 at 2:00 PM at St. Mark’s UMC Church, 1431 W Magee in Tucson. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Don’s favorite charity, Youth on Their Own, 1660 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ, 85712, would be appreciated.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald Beene, please visit Tribute Store