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Dr. Ray Kelton, Longtime Music Professor, Dies Nov. 28


Raymond H. Kelton died Nov. 28, 2008, at home in Austin, Texas, surrounded by his family. He was 88.

Dr. Kelton was born Aug. 7, 1920, in Tucson, Ariz., to Frank and Eleanor (Harrison) Kelton.  He graduated from Tucson High School and the University of Arizona with Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees.  He received a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Texas.

He married Barbara Kilburn on Jan. 4, 1944, in Tucson.  They lived in San Diego while Dr. Kelton served in the United States Navy.
He devoted his career to music education, teaching at Montana State University, Texas Wesleyan College, East Central University in Oklahoma, and Wayne State College in Nebraska. He was professor of music for 24 years at Wayne State and chairman of the Music Department and the Division of Fine Arts. He retired in 1984. He was a member of the Nebraska Music Educator Hall of Fame, Kappa Kappa Psi, and various professional organizations.
He worked extensively with high school music students in summer camps, contests and as a clinician, adjudicator and teacher.  He taught for several years in the Dallas public schools while pursuing his doctorate.


Dr. Kelton is remembered as an accomplished musician, conductor, performer and teacher.  He specialized in brass instruments, music history, conducting concert and marching bands, and performing on the euphonium and trombone.  His performances of classics such as the Carnival of Venice on the euphonium were a joy to hear. After retirement, he continued to play and solo with the Sioux City Municipal Band and the brass quintet A Touch of Brass.
He especially enjoyed gardening, traveling, and attending concerts with Barbara and his grandchildren.  He also loved candy and good jokes, according to friends.
Dr. Kelton is survived by his two sons, R. Harrison (Elizabeth) Kelton Jr. of Newton, Mass., and Phillip (Karen) Kelton of Austin, Texas; and four grandchildren, Kevin Kelton, Erica Harris, Christina Kelton and Piper Kelton.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Barbara; his parents; two brothers, Kenneth and Frank Jr.; and an infant son, Gary.
The family will have a private celebration of his life. Memorials may be made to either Providence Medical Center, Wayne, Neb.,  68787; or to the Ray Kelton Band Scholarship fund via the Wayne State Foundation, 1111 Main Street, Wayne,  NE 68787.
Dr. Kelton's family thanks Hospice Austin and all the other doctors and nurses who treated him in Austin, and appreciates your thoughts and kindness.
Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin,  Texas,  78705 (512) 452-8811. Obituary and guestbook online at


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