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