Pixley Funeral Home

3530 Auburn Road, Auburn Hills, MI


Robert William Demaree

April 10, 1937March 24, 2020

Robert W. Demaree, Jr. April 10, 1937-March 24, 2020

Robert W. Demaree, Jr. was born on April 10, 1937, in Noblesville, Indiana, the only child of Robert W. and Winona K. Demaree. Active in music at an early age, he performed in dance bands, choral groups, and musical theater shows in addition to piano study and composing and arranging. After graduating from Greenwood High School in 1955, he enrolled in the School of Music at Indiana University where he joined the Singing Hoosiers, where he made several lifelong friends, including Roger and Jeanne Fortna. Just before his senior year, he was accepted into The United States Army Chorus. During his service time, he performed before four current or future presidents as well as heads of state from around the world. In Washington he met his beloved, Lynn Ohashi, and they married at Grace Episcopal Church, Alexandria on June 4, 1960.

After his Army service ended, he returned to Indiana University to earn three degrees, studying under Ralph Appelman, Bernard Heiden, Julius Herford, George Krueger, Vernon Kliewer, and William Christ, and serving as assistant to Dean Wilfred Bain. While completing his doctoral work, he was appointed founding Director of the Music Department at the South Bend campus of Indiana University in 1965. In addition to founding the fledgling program, he quickly established and directed choral ensembles that eventually evolved into the South Bend Symphonic Chorus. They performed major works with the South Bend Symphony and operas with the Michiana Opera Guild.

A builder of both the music program and music in the community, he helped found the South Bend Youth Symphony, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary; the Michiana Boys Choir; and established the Martin Endowed Chair in Piano, originally staffed by Alexander Toradze. Eventually he was promoted to Dean of the Arts where he oversaw theatre, speech, and art as well as music. He was a brilliant scholar and teacher of music theory and history, and the progress of his students was a passion. Among those whose lives he influenced are operatic baritone Nathan Gunn and the conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano. He is author or co-author of several books, including The Complete Conductor, Face to Face with an Orchestra, and The Masses of Joseph Haydn, written with his close friend Don V Moses. His final writing project, with co-author and dear friend Robert Hamilton, will be published in 2021.

Bob is survived by his wife Lynn, son Robert K. (Rebekah) Demaree, daughter Victoria (Joseph) Shively, and five grandchildren: Robert Landon Shively, Benjamin (Andrea McNett), Rachael, Nicholas, and Allison Demaree.

Arrangements are being made by Pixley Funeral Home in Auburn Hills, MI. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, no immediate plans are being made for a memorial service.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family requests that donations be made to any of the following charities:

--the Alzheimer’s Association online at www.alz.org,

--the Indiana University at South Bend Library https://library.iusb.edu/about-us/donation.html

--the Rector’s Discretionary Fund; Andrew Guffey, Priest-in-Charge St. Mary’s In-The-Hills Episcopal Church 2512 Joslyn Court Lake Orion, MI 48360 Phone: 248-391-0663

--Benzie Area Christian Neighbors https://benziebacn.org/financial/


  • No Service to be held at this time.


Robert William Demaree

have a memory or condolence to add?

Laura Kaiser Pare

March 29, 2020

I was privileged to be invited along with the folks to the summer house at Crystal Lake in 2010. Bob talked with such erudition about so many things--I was blown away and also charmed when he talked about how he was reading Tolstoy's "War and Peace" because at his age he only wanted to spend time with the classics. I finally read Tolstoy's masterpiece a year or two ago, loved it, of course, and often thought of that beautiful day at the lake with Dad's old friend.
~Laura Kaiser Pare


March 29, 2020

On behalf of the Flint family, it was privilege to have had a business and personal relationship with Robert (Bob) Demaree Jr.
I realized the strengths that Bob possessed in the world of the arts. He was always respectful in his work ethics; and at the same time kept his sense of humor while accomplishing his mission....a true professional!
On behalf of my late wife Donna and my family; our hearts go out to Lynn, son Robert, daughter Victoria, and all of the family.
He will always be remembered fondly.
Jerry Flint and Family

Carl Kaiser

March 28, 2020

After such a long and great friendship, details may become inaccurate, but sincere in any case. I am certainly the richer for having known Bob so long, and having had so many opportunities to admire him. His death will leave a huge hole in Susan's and my lives; one can never forget such a personality, an intellect, and a sense of humor such as his.

RPI, Bob! God Bless You.

Carl and Susan

Tom Coe

March 28, 2020

I am so grateful to have been a student in choral music education under him at IUSB. It was in part because of him that I was exposed to many great choral works which have become so dear to me. La Traviata, the Rachmaninov Vespers, and the very poignantly appropriate Brahms Requiem, among them. I continue to be inspired by him in my career as a high school choral director and my students have surely benefitted from my time with him. May he delight in eternal peace and sing with the heavenly choirs of angels! Or maybe get a really exciting pianissimo out of them!

Phil & Shirley Jackson

March 28, 2020

Dearest friend Lynn and family, From the 23rd Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Our first wonderful memory is that Bob sang at our wedding on October 27, 1957! A gift of remembrance of 62 years for us as a couple and the beginning of the three couples getting together over the years!
Dave was best man in our wedding! Dave & Laura married in August, 1959; Bob & Lynn June, 1960!
Thanking God for the blessings of the gift of friendship from all of us! Phil & Shirley Jackson

Ru Ann Hitz

March 28, 2020

We enjoyed the Christmas get-togethers at Robert and Winona house, It was enjoyable spending time with Bob, his family, the dog and the rest of the Kelso clan. Keeping the family in our prayers.

Ru Ann (Kelso) Hitz

Chris Humphrey

March 27, 2020

I remember when he and his wife would join you at st. Marys on @ Sunday when they were visiting Victoria and family. I am so sorry for your loss, especially at this time. You are in my prayers. I recall his smile and laugh and how he loved northern Michigan! May god be especially close to you during this time.
Pastor chris