Stanley Lewis DeFries

Stanley Lewis DeFries died November 24th at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.  He was born December 2, 1928 son of Bailey Bennett DeFries and Margaret Lucille Glendening DeFries.  He grew up in Muncie, Kansas, attended Stony Point Elementary School and Turner High School.  He participated in vocal and instrumental groups and was a member of the Hosking Boys Band where he also taught at the Hosking Conservatory.  A ten year member of 4-H, he assumed many  leadership roles in church and community.

He married Alice Jo Hostetter of Wellsville, Kansas, June 10,1951.  They began their life together in Topeka, Stanley was Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church and Alice Jo taught at Dover High School.  Their two children were born in Topeka; Stanley Lucky in 1953 and Paula Jo in 1955.  They began their lifelong commitment to music ministry and teaching.  First in Topeka, then Bloomington, IN, Washington D.C., Sioux Falls, SD, and back to Ottawa.  Stanley developed schools of choirs in the various churches and chaired Music Departments in Sioux Falls and Ottawa.  A Sibyl Martin Distinguished Professor of Music, he conducted the Ottawa University Concert Choir for twenty years, touring the US and the first tour to Europe.

His degrees were a B.A Music in Piano, Ottawa University, a Masters in Vocal Pedagogy and Ph.D in Choral Literature and Conducting, Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, Bloomington.  He championed the music of American composers holding festivals of their music wherever he went.  The list is long–Robert Wilson Hays, Will James, Powell Weaver, Thomas Beversdorf, Seth Bingham, Jester Hairston, Samuel Barber and Aarron Copland.  Following his second visit to Ottawa, Dr. Copland gave a complete set of his scores to the department.  Stanley founded Ye Olde Englishe Feaste which was a 28 year fixture of the Christmas Season.  He was musical director for a series of Broadway Musicals, conductor of many major Choral works.  He served  as music critic for two newspapers, clinician and adjudicator for High School State Music Festivals.  He also served on four panels of Judges for the District and Regional Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera.

Community involvement was an important part of his life.  A member of the Arts Council Board, Chair of the Franklin County United Way, board member of the Ottawa Suzuki Strings, Chatauqua and Elderhostel leader and a Paul Harris Member of Rotary International.  The DeFries retired in 1998 and moved to Lawrence.  Retirement years for them were much like earlier ones, filled with many community activities.  Stanley was an active member of the First American Baptist Church, singing in the choir, member of the finance committee and accompanist for the children’s choir.  He was Friend of the Hall Center, the Lied Center, the Dole Institute for Politics, and Theater Lawrence.  And to honor their long tenure Ottawa University established The DeFries Society for the Performing Arts.

Stanley is survived by the family he loved so much.  He wife, Alice Jo, son S. Lucky DeFries and wife Pam of Topeka; daughter Paula Nauman and husband Bob of Louisburg;  grandchildren and great grandchildren, Eric Nauman and wife Nichole, Claire, Stella, Callan Nauman of Kearney, Missouri; Kurt Nauman and wife Tasha, Salem Nauman of Olathe, KS, Kyle Nauman and wife Kelsie, Laikynn, Aspyn, Lexie Nauman of Sawyer, KS; Ashley Broxterman and husband Luke; Sarah and Ruthie of Wakarusa, KS; Brett DeFries and wife Emily of Minneapolis, MN; sister Mary Monroe and husband Hal of Stockton, CA.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions made to the DeFries Society for Preforming Arts at Ottawa University 1001 S Cedar St, Ottawa, KS 66067 attn; Advancements or Lawrence First Baptist Church,  1330 Kasold Drive, Lawrence, Kansas 66049.

A Celebration of Life will be 2 pm, Sunday, December 19, at Ottawa University Chapel, Ottawa, Kansas.  Online condolences made at rumsey-yost.com

Messages & Condolences

From Pamela Larson...

Stanley and Alice Jo were revered friends of my father, George Stewart. Dad often told fun, & funny, stories of singing in the Ottawa University choir & the choir road trips with Stanley. He will be missed by many. We’re holding you in our hearts, Alice Jo and family.

From Nancy Miller and Mark Reichle...

Stanley was a guest of ours at the B&B we previously owned. A guest who quickly became a friend. We always looked so forward to seeing he and Alice Jo, and felt honored to get to know their beautiful family as well. Gracious and kind, sincere and warm. He is missed.

From Jann Dalbom Hunter...

It was a special privilege to be a friend of Stanley DeFries. I have very early childhood memories of seeing him in my mom and dad’s wedding pictures. He was a dear friend to my Mom and Dad, Harold and Dorothy Riegel Dalbom Bowlin, and to my stepfather, Bob Bowlin and his family. It seems that all of my life I have known Stanley and Alice Jo. I am so grateful for such sweet visits with them when visiting in Lawrence. Stanley was a man of extraordinary kindness and generosity, purposeful vision and energy, a beautiful sense of humor and wit, and a sincere and loving friendship to so many, including my family. His legacy is everlasting. My deepest condolences to Alice Jo, Lucky, Paula and their families.

From Barbara E Jones...

Dear Alice Jo, Lucky and Paula,
People through life have found it hard to believe that I, like so many, had opportunities through Dr. DeFries’ musical leadership to sing for the likes of Jester Hairston, Samuel Barber, and Aaron Copeland. The Jazz festival, the Broadway shows we produced, and choir tours shaped my life in amazing ways. Choir at FBC, a smaller group that went to Souix Falls to sing for an event (only memory other than singing was frigid weather) always mixed music with real life and lots of fun. The Church Family was also an amazing time around the DeFries’ dinner table. Alice Jo, Lucky & Pam, Paula & Bob and extended family, know that Stan touched an incalculable number of lives through care for us and in extension those we have cared for through the years. With deep condolence and appreciation, Rev. Barbara E. Jones (retired Exec. Regional Minister)

From Donna M. Bell...

I was so sad to hear of Stanley’s death, but so glad I had to chance to know him, along with Alice Jo. The DeFries family is in my thoughts and prayers!

From Henry Spangler...

What a remarkable musical career. Sincere condolences to Lucky and his Family.

From Jack Greenwood...

such a talented, kind, thoughtful, involved, and admired by so many, Stan will be missed by so many who had the privilege of knowing him over the years. May he rest in peace.

From Susan Metzger...

Stanley and Alice bought a painting of The Raven bookstore that my husband painted because they said they loved going there so much. They gave it to the owner. Even only having met them once, you could tell they were wonderful people. We were so sorry to hear of Stanley’s passing. Our condolences to the family.

From Darrell McCune...

Stanley was a wonderful friend and pillar of the music community here in Ottawa. Linda and I are saddened to learn of his passing. Our prayers are with Alice Jo and all of the family.

From John Hooge...

Alice Jo and family—Claudia and I share your grief in the loss of Stanley. We were so happy to have him sing at our wedding 49 1/2 years ago. And knowing you two purchased my art at O.U.’s benefit auctions and hearing your happiness in owning my prints was special. Our families have shared a long history, beginning with your marriage which my dad officiated. It worked! Your and your family have been a shining light to many. You have our sincere condolences.

From Herman de Vries...

This is one of the hardest messages I have ever written. Dr. DeFries changed my life in so many ways with his vocal coaching and that opened doors of opportunity I would never have had without him. But mostly, he provided a stellar example of what the life of a good man looks like. His kindness, gentleness, and beautiful soul were always at the forefront of every interaction with him. I treasure how close I became with Alice Jo, Lucky and Paula in those years in Sioux Falls, and how fortunate Karen and I were to spend time with them, even 50 years later.

Stanley was like a father to me, and his children like my own brother and sister, and Alice Jo a loving mom. The world is a better place because he was here, and although there is a void, what he has left behind will always be remembered.

God bless you and your family, Alice Jo. We send every ounce of love we have.

From Barry Robinson Cook...

Alice Jo— so sorry to hear about Stanley— I know all your special memories will help you thru this time!

From Barry Robinson Cook...

Alice Jo— so sorry to hear about Stanley. What great memories you have to help you thru this time!

From Connie & Gaylord Kelsey...

Lucky, Pam & family,
Our deepest sympathy & condolences to you. I know Stanley will be missed by all who knew him, as he made such an impact on so many lives. As our hearts ache for your loss, may God sustain you with the wonderful memories you have. He has left a wonderful legacy in all the contributions he made during his life. You are in our thoughts & prayers during this sad time. Hugs.

From Rhonda, Rob, Jacob and Jenna Gillespie...

Stanley was one of the kindest men I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. I’m so grateful that my son and daughter were able to benefit from his love of music through piano lessons with him. Sending you much love, Alice Jo. Stanley will be greatly missed.

From Rita Adams...

Lucky & Pam, My prayers are with you and all your family. It was my pleasure to work with your father & mother, Lucky, through the Kansas Baptist Convention Foundation. May God wrap His loving arms around you and comfort you at this time.

From Wallace Smith...

There are countless OU Alumnae who would join in a Choir of thanksgiving for DOC. Alice Jo and family, we love you and pray for your healing in this time of loss. And we celebrate with bittersweet joy Stanley’s life, his teaching, his faith, his grace. Peace be with you!

From Dareld and Martha Albright...

Our Sincere Sympathy to the Stanley DeFries Family. We have been good friends with Stanley and Alice Jo for all the years
we have both lived here at Brandon Woods. We enjoyed many Dinners together and other Functions here at Brandon
Woods. We will miss his friendship.

From Jeff and Rogene Anderson...

We were saddened to you hear of Stan‘s death. A truly gracious and kind mentor and colleague, he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Alice Jo and the family.

From rob mandel...

A true friend. We were a generation apart, but never felt that way. Stanley always felt the younger of us. Going to miss him.

From Michael Haynes & Family...

I never met Stanley, but after reading about him, I can now understand how his son developed the characteristics of someone with such high morals, honesty and integrity. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Lucky.

-Michael Haynes

From Janet Crow...

Stanley was full of love and life wherever he went. He will be greatly missed.

From Cinnamon...

I will miss Stanley greatly, I have enjoyed so many years of friendship, getting to know all about his family, and will never forget his time with my son teaching him Piano. My deepest love to you all. Alice Jo I am sending you a big hug from the Ramer family.

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