Former COT Musicians: Bill Kundrat, Jill Hentz, and Haaren Miklofsky
Ruthann (shown with her daughter, Lori Fitzsimmons) was born in the Bronx, NY, in 1925 and spent most of her early years in Brooklyn. She started playing the violin at the age of 10, and later played with Prospect Heights High School Orchestra (formerly Girls' Commercial High School). After marrying Joe in 1944, she and Joe eventually traveled west, first moving to Tucson in the early 50’s, and later California, where Ruthann played violin with the Sunnyvale Symphony Orchestra and both violin and viola with the Pasadena Community Orchestra. After Joe retired from Jet Propulsion Lab in 1989, Joe and Ruthann moved to Tucson to be closer to family. Ruthann joined the Civic Orchestra of Tucson, where her youngest daughter, Lori, is also a member.
Ruthann instilled the love of music in her 4 children and 7 grandchildren. During her years with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson, Ruthann could claim that three generations of her family performed with the orchestra: daughter Lori on Violin, granddaughter Emily on Flute, and granddaughter Regina on French Horn.
Although family (including three great grandchildren) was her greatest source of love and joy, playing music with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson was a close second. Ruthann especially enjoyed rehearsing with the winners of the Young Artists’ Competition, marveling at the extraordinary talent showcased every year.
Ruthann played with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson for 25 years, practicing every day until her 88th year. Ruthann passed away on June 28th, 2015, at age 89. In lieu of flowers, Ruthann’s family is grateful for donations made to the Civic Orchestra of Tucson, P.O. Box 42764, Tucson, AZ 85733.
"I've never known a kinder, gentler man than Bill Kundrat," recalls Lori Fitzsimmons. Long-time members of the COT fondly remember Bill, who passed away in July 2013. Terry Sullivan, former COT General Manager and horn player, shares his memories:
"Bill Kundrat was a person who loved music and loved kids. He was an original member of the COT, or if not an original, he began playing with COT when COT was very young. He served as President and Treasurer and was the one who added professionalism to the development of the COT budget. He created order out of the cigar box by introducing QuickBooks for the financial side of the orchestra.
"On the artistic side, Bill played his violin for many years. But that was not all he did. In his free time he repaired stringed instruments so that others could experience the thrill creating beautiful music. I don’t think he ever missed a 'Petting Zoo' until he finally retired from his active playing. He and several other members of the string section traveled around the city putting on impromptu chamber concerts in nursing homes, school, churches, coffee shops, meat markets, and Target.
"There was many a time that for whatever reason COT could not get into its rehearsal location. A quick call to Bill or his wife, Mary, and voila! we had Friendship Hall at Bill’s church. I miss Bill very much. He was a wonderful person who cared. And he loved music. Not only did he never miss a COT concert, but every Saturday evening in May and September you could always find Bill and Mary in Udall Park for the Arizona Symphonic Winds concert in the park."
A memorial service for Bill will be held at Christ Church United Methodist on September 7 at 11:30 am. COT members will provide music starting shortly after 11:00. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill's memory to Christ Church United Methodist or the Civic Orchestra of Tucson.
Read his obituary, published in the Arizona Daily Star on July 31, 2013.
Dr. Kenneth Parkhurst
We fondly remember Dr. Kenneth Parkhurst, who passed away in March 2013 at the age of 88 after a full life. He was a major contributor to the Civic Orchestra of Tucson for many years and one year made a significant donation to enable our Young Artists' Competition to be held. He definitely saved the event that year! Dr. Parkhurst was born in Moscow, Idaho, in 1925 and as a youth lived in England, Scotland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, graduating from Amherst College. He eventually moved west to the University of Southern California to get his PhD in Economics. In his retirement, he became a local artist with numerous exhibits in Silver City, NM, and elsewhere, specializing in oil and acrylic painting. In 2012 he won a national art contest held for the 50,000 Emeritus Senior Living residents around the country. Click to see his winning artwork.
He was active in the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Silver City, NM, participating in the vestry and serving as senior warden. He was a member of the choir and started and endowed a music series. Read his full obituary here.
Dr. Parkhurst is pictured above with his wife, Charlotte, who passed away in 2008. Marilyn McNamara, his daughter, has played oboe in the COT for more years than she can remember. She also serves as the orchestra's Librarian. Dr. Parkhurst was a true patron of the arts. We will miss him.
Haaren Alert Miklofsky - My kosher HAM -died October 2, 2011, just before band rehearsal. Born in Rochester, NY, Thanksgiving Day was just the beginning. With a lifelong passion for education, he took night classes to get a B.S. in Civil Engineering from George Washington University, then got his MS and PhD from Yale University. He taught at many universities, last the University of Arizona, where he retired as Professor Emeritus. Recently he drove us nuts learning Morse code with The Three Pigs for a HAM radio license. But his first love was music. He was a member of Civic Orchestra of Tucson on violin and Tucson Concert and Shrine bands on trumpet. Haaren directed three groups of his own: a dance band called The Rhythm Gang and most recently the Music Samplers, who gave him a musical sendoff to a Sousa march. Sweetheart and Her Pals performed chamber music until Sweetheart's death. Haaren is survived by his wife, Esther Shannon, children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. A memorial of his life will be held Sunday, October 23, 2011. Arrangements by Adair Funeral Homes, Dodge Chapel.
Leonard W. Ferrone - Musician January 4, 1928 - September 4, 2007. Len Ferrone, bass player, leader and last member of the Bourbon Street Dixieland Jazz Band that played at Gus & Andy's Steakhouse for decades, passed away from lung cancer September 4, 2007. Born near Altoona, PA, Len graduated early from Allegany High School, Cumberland, MD, to join the U. S. Navy in World War II and served in the Pacific Theater. He studied musical instrument repair at C.G. Conn Company on the G. I. Bill. Len worked in the flute manufacturing industry for the Artley Company and others for 32 years; was instrument repairman for Tucson Unified School District for 12 years, and after retirement continued to repair flutes and other instruments. Len Ferrone is survived by three daughters and one son; Jan (John) Gavin, Elkhart, IN; Laura (Doug, dec.) Elliott, Bristol, IN; Mary Ann Stasyszyn, Gibsonville, NC; and Bill Ferrone (Tracy), Arivaca, AZ; ten grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and former wife, Joann Ferrone, Elkhart, IN. Len's sister, Rosemary Barncord, and brother, John (Kathy) of South Bend, IN, and brother, Francis (Roslind) of Canton, MI, also survive him, as well as 12 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and sister, Dolores. A consummate musician, Len's talent was evident in his sense of rhythm, tone, and phrasing, a natural vibrato, and beautiful singing voice. Besides singing and playing in the Bourbon Street Band, Len played string bass in the Civic Orchestra of Tucson and Arizona Symphonic Winds, played tuba in Tucson Concert Band and Sonora Winds, bass flute in the Tucson Flute Club, and alto clarinet in The Desert Aires. According to Len's wishes, cremation was arranged with Advantage Arizona Mortuary. A celebration of Len's life will take place October 6, 2007, at St. Philips In The Hills Episcopal Church. Donations in Len's memory can be made to Civic Orchestra of Tucson, P. O. Box 42764, Tucson, AZ 85733.
Charles Isial Lupu devoted husband for 58 years and loving and devoted father died peacefully at home on Wednesday, August 29, 2007, ending his two and a half years living with lung cancer. Charles, born in Minneapolis, MN, was 82 years old. He is survived by his loving wife, Marian; three children, Dale Lupu (Richard Gladstein), Jarold (Jana), Soleste (Joseph Rodgers); two grandchildren, Ariella and Noah; three step-grandchildren, Emily, Cydny, Neal and six grand pets, Coco, Jazzy, Piquita, Sylvester, Luna, and Leo. He was a veteran of WWII and received a purple heart for heroic actions as a radio operator. The shrapnel that embedded in his hand ended his ambition of being a professional violinist, but the GI bill enabled him to obtain a PhD in biochemistry from Loyola Medical School in Chicago. He helped establish the field of clinical chemistry, working in Chicago, New Orleans, Charlottesville, and Pittsburgh before coming to Tucson in 1966 to help run the Tucson Medical Center laboratory. He was a certified clinical chemist and a fellow of the American Association of Clinical Chemists. In the early 70's he started a second career, establishing the Arizona Institute for Research, which conducted many social and market research projects throughout the country. He also established, in partnership with Dr. Theodore Koff, Housing Management Specialists, which worked on many projects throughout the country improving housing and services for the elderly. In 1982 he rediscovered his passion for orchestral music because he wanted to encourage his daughter Soleste to continue playing viola. He played violin with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson every season since then. Over the years he served as president, treasurer, active board member and fund raiser for the orchestra. He also played in several other musical groups, enjoying both popular and classical music. He was keen on encouraging young students in the intergenerational Civic Orchestra of Tucson. He initiated the orchestra's annual student competition which provides young musicians the chance to solo with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson. Tchaikovsky was his favorite composer and any and every opportunity he had to play in the large romantic orchestral works gave him great joy. His last concert with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson was May 2007. He was unusual for his time in being completely supportive of his wife's successful career in gerontology, of sharing child and domestic responsibilities, and of living his belief in human equality Ghandiesk style. In high school, approximately 1939, he was campaign manager for an African-American student running for student body president. She won. In college, he was one of the returning veterans who helped establish Roosevelt College, one of the earliest integrated colleges in Chicago. Throughout his career, he continued to hire, mentor, and cultivate talented people of all ages, colors and cultures. Charles legacy includes decades of home movies which chronicle the lives of his family on 8mm, super-eight, and video. He loved to travel and visited every continent except South America and Antarctica, but still wanted to see more of the world. Charles was a very generous and loving man. His gentle spirit, keen intellect, and wonderful sense of humor touched many lives. Informal family visitation (Shiva) will be held at the family home on Saturday and Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A spiritual service will be held each day at 6:30 p.m. The fall date for a Celebration of Life will be announced later. The family requests contributions in his memory to the Civic Orchestra of Tucson or Tucson Junior Strings.
Jill Hentz (Gilberte Louise), 83, passed peacefully surrounded by her family and friends on her birthday, July 14, 2006. Jill was born in Paris, France, in 1923. She spent her early years in Geneva, Switzerland, and came to America in 1936. She married Joseph R. Hentz in 1947. Throughout his thirty-one year career in the U.S. Air Force, they were stationed at various Air Force bases in the U.S. and Asia until he retired in Tucson in 1971. Jill taught elementary school in Illinois, Okinawa, New York and over 20 years at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Tucson. As a young woman, Jill attended the Juilliard School of Music where she studied the violin and piano, which intensified her lifelong love of music. Wherever they traveled, she found an orchestra to play in, and had been a founding and active member of the Civic Orchestra of Tucson since 1975. She also played her "fiddle" with the St. Ambrose and Sacred Heart Church choirs and was the Sweetheart in the group "Sweetheart and Her Pals." Jill will continue to live on through her four sons, Tom (wife Joanne), Jim (wife Leslie), Doug, and Steve (wife Kim); her five grandchildren, Jeffrey, Sarah, Lauren, David and Deanna; and great grandchild, Ilah. A memorial service will be held on August 5, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 300 S. Tucson Blvd. The family wishes to extend their deepest appreciation to all the Hospice Family Care staff for their dedication and loving care. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Civic Orchestra of Tucson, P.O. Box 42764, Tucson, AZ 85733.