Ward Rounds, long time director of the NWMSU band, has died. Father, husband, mentor, teacher, advisor, he was most influential in the music world. His knowledge of trumpet solo literature was such that he was consulted by orchestral players. His students were among the finest band directors in the Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa schools, and several of them became professional musicians.
Mr. Rounds was a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and was a member of the band that went to the Rose Bowl parade in 1941. He then went to New York City and completed his master’s degree at Columbia University. He taught in Scotia, North Loup, Broken Bow, and Chadron, where he met Elizabeth Beckmann, a piano/organ instructor for Chadron State College. They were married in 1954. They moved to California, and then to Alliance and McCook, Nebraska, then, in 1960, he accepted a position at Northwest Missouri State College as it was known at that time. He and Don Lenz had established a band camp that was held at Chadron State Park for several years. In 1963, he brought that idea to the Northwest campus and it has since become an institution. In 1968, Ward decided he needed to pursue his doctorate in music education, and returned to Columbia University. Unfortunately, this was also the period of the anti-war protests and riots on the campus, and so, two classes and a thesis short, he returned to NWMSU. He and his wife, Liz, performed on faculty recitals on a regular basis, and also provided music for special occasions at Hope Lutheran Church.
Mr. Rounds continued to teach at the university until his retirement in 1985. He was honored by an alumni band that played during the half time of the homecoming game, and was presented with a gold plated trumpet inscribed with his name and NWMSU. He didn’t quit teaching however, and gave private lessons for another 20 years. He also took up band instrument repair, and worked on the horns from many different public schools. He was widowed 4/26/1990 when Liz Rounds, his wife of 36 years, died of cancer.
C. Ward Rounds was not a man with a one track mind though. He had taken classes in auto repair and photography, and he and his family traveled all over the US. He was also a licensed pilot and flew his Cessna 172 to his granddaughter’s boot camp graduation in South Carolina when he was 83. One of his last trips was a tour of Hawaii which included a helicopter ride over the island. And at age 88, he and his niece went to Branson for a few days where he took in the jazz scene and enjoyed the activities. This is all the more remarkable because he was not expected to live past age 20 due to a childhood accident that left him with scar tissue on his esophagus. He not only surpassed his life expectancy by 70 years, he also out-lived seven of the doctors that predicted his early demise.
He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Fegan, and his sons, Theodore and Joseph Rounds, five grandchildren, Patricia Philippi, Ben, Jo Ann, Ward, and Sean Fegan, and one great grandchild, Kali Philippi. Memorial service is planned for July 30, 2011, 2:00 pm at Hope Lutheran Church in Maryville.
Ward Rounds (Rounds)