MADISON - Walter F. Fandrich, age 78, passed away at local hospital on April 10, 1996 after a brief illness. He was born on July 6, 1917 in Oxford, Wisconsin, the son of Herbert and Grace Fandrich. He received his Bachelor of Education degree from Milwaukee State Teacher’s College, a Master’s degree in music from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and pursued Doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin and Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. He began his teaching career at Clear Lake, Wisconsin and was drafted shortly after. He served five and half years in World War II an Army band leader. He spent time in Boston where he felt privileged to be associated with Arthur Fieldler of the Boston Pops. Toward the end of the hostilities, he was in the Philippines serving as General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters band leader. After the war, he returned to Wisconsin and was director of music at Dodgeville High School. In 1950, he moved to Madison and taught and directed music at Central High School and later at Lafollette High School until he retired in 1979. It was a source of pleasure to him that students at Lafollette still use the school song he composed as a gift for them when Lafollette first opened. Mr. Fandrich also served as Choir Director for the McFarland Lutheran Church for nineteen years. As a concert musician, he played string bass with the Madison Symphony Orchestra for twenty-nine years and serve on year as a violinist with Waukesha Symphony. He spent thirty five years as adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and Zor Shrine Band Director in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. He was past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Music Fraternity, Phi Beta Mu as well as the Wisconsin Bandmaster Association and a member of the Wisconsin Retired Music Masters. After retirement in 1979 he and Margaret began spending six months a year in Sun City, Arizona. Walter came to enjoy enthusiastically the freedom the climate offered, not content to relax, golf and explore the country side. He exercised his constant love of music as a member of the string bass section of the Sun Cities Symphony Orchestra for fifteen years and conductor of the Sun City Chamber Orchestra for three years as well as tutoring string bass students. He also enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, amateur archaeology and playing bridge with many friends. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Margaret; three children, Mary Kraemer of Madison, Jane Poss (Richard) of Waunakee and Jim (Jean) of Marshfield, Wisconsin; four grandchildren, Amy and Michael Kraemer, Jason and John Meyer; a brother, Kenneth Fandrich of Endeavor, Wisconsin; three sisters, Virginia Neff of Oxford, Wisconsin, Gladys Swanson of Paton, Iowa and Ruth Sawall of Mequon, Wisconsin. Visitation will be from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, 1996 followed by a memorial service. The family wishes to express appreciation for the physicians and staff of the MICU at St. Mary’s Hospital. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Walter Fandrich Music Scholarship Fund, c/o Lafollette High School, 702 Pflaum Rd. Madison, WI 53716 or the Madison Symphony Orchestra, 211 N. Carroll Madison, WI 53703.
Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 12, 1996
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