Professor Emeritus Norman C. Dietz passes away at 91

- July 29, 2010
Professor Emeritus Norman C. Dietz passes away at 91

Media Contact(s)

John Jacobson
Director of Music Events

Program Contact(s)

Dr. Randi L’Hommedieu
Director, School of Music

Dr. Randi L’Hommedieu, Director of the School of Music at CMU announced Wednesday that Professor Emeritus Norman C. Dietz has passed away at the age of 91. “Professor Dietz was Director of Bands at CMU from 1947 to 1979. Room 156, our band rehearsal room, is named in his honor, two music scholarships bear his name, and in 2005 CMU published his biography and a CD collection of his CMU performances. He was a giant figure in the history of the School of Music and a revered mentor to generations of CMU alumni.”

CMU alum and author of
On the Edge of Sound: The Life and Career of Norman Dietz, John W. Beery provides this obituary:

Norman C. Dietz, most recently a resident of Clearwater Florida, passed away Tuesday, July 27. Mr. Dietz was 91 years of age.

He was Director of Bands at Central Michigan University for over 30 years. Retiring in 1979, Mr. Dietz and his wife Margaret Bush Dietz moved to Florida. While in the Sarasota area Mr. Dietz was active as a performer, conductor, and composer of music. Several of his compositions were published and have been performed around the country.

A graduate of Central Michigan University, Mr. Dietz entered Central State Teachers College in 1937 after graduating from Rogers City High School. While a student at Central he was President of the Student Body, a member of the Band, and a regular performer with student jazz groups. Upon graduation he served in the US Army as a musician where he both performed and arranged music for radio broadcasts. After the war was over he returned to Mt. Pleasant to serve as Director of Bands at both Mt. Pleasant High School and Central State Teachers College.

During the post World War II years many veterans returned to college to finish their education. The young Dietz used this opportunity to build the foundation of a very strong instrumental music program at Central. Returning to school to finish a graduate degree at Michigan State University, he studied composition and pedagogy with H. Owen Reed and Leonard Falcone respectively. In an era of intense American musical growth, Dietz emerged as an educational and artistic leader. Both his Central Michigan University Marching Band and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble achieved national recognition for their musical excellence.

Alumni from the Central Michigan University Dietz Era remember him for his professionalism, his high artistic standards, and his profound concern for each person under his baton. Former students often refer to him as a father figure, an example, a true teacher.

Mr. Dietz was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Bush Dietz and son James Dietz.

He is survived by sons John Dietz and Richard Dietz; daughters in law Camille and Lise; grand children Annie, Peter, Karl, and Erik; great grand children Taylor, Sophia, Kailey, Carson, and Monroe; nieces Ann, Julie, Sally, Sandy, and Nancy; and nephews David, Dan, Tom, Bob, and Tommy.

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