OBITUARY

Byron Lee Autrey

December 10, 1924July 20, 2018

Byron Lee Autrey, age 93 of East Lansing, Michigan, was born December 10, 1924 in Mexia, Texas to Robert and Harriet Autrey.

He served in the Navy V-12 Program during World War II. After discharge from the Navy, Byron had a 38-year career in the Music Department at Michigan State University, where he was Chairman of the Brass Department. He was an internationally known performer, clinician and designer. Byron also authored the Basic Guide Trumpet Playing.

Survivors include his wife, two sons, two grandsons and a nephew.

The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home in East Lansing, Michigan.

Memories and condolences may be shared at www.greastlansing.com

REMEMBERING

Byron Lee Autrey

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Richard Bergren

September 27, 2018

I am sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Autrey. I took trumpet lessons from him during my time at Michigan State University (1968 to 1972) and still have the Benge trumpet that he customized for me. I remember well his strong interest and innovation in improving the instrument, and his approach to teaching his students.

Following my graduation from MSU, I joined the Navy and continued through the years to play my trumpet, and other instruments.

After many years, I ran into Byron again at a brass band festival in Northfield, Minnesota. He was playing E flat cornet in the First Brigade (Union) Band, and I was playing a B flat tenor horn with the 26th North Carolina (Confederate) Band. We played from opposite sides of the Cannon River and then met on a bridge over that river to play some numbers together. The next morning, we had breakfast together and shared memories.

Richard Bergren
Upper Marlboro, Maryland


Keith Amstutz

July 31, 2018

I was saddened to hear of Byron’s passing. I started studying with Byron when I was in high school and attended MSU for both my BM and MM and he was my mentor throughout my career. Performance, pedagogy, history, instrument design - his knowledge and experience was unbelievable. But his personal warmth and concern for his students was what led me to pursue a career as a trumpet performer and educator. His life and accomplishments have touched all of us in the trumpet fraternity and he will be remembered and missed by so many of us.

Russ HECKO

July 28, 2018

I did not know Byron when he Was at MSU. Byron would come to mc donalds in the morning and have coffee a buy cookies. He always offered cookies to the other people at the tables.
He had all kinds of stories about going all over the world to help companies produce a good trmpent. A
BYRON was an awsome person Ann the McDonald's table already misses him

David Rafferty

July 27, 2018

Our heartfelt condolences. Had contacts off and on with Byron since'59 MSU Summer Band and in other circumstances and groups over the years MSU is definitely missing an "institution. In the photo, Jim Kot is 2nd in , first row and I am 3rd..

Pat Jarve

July 27, 2018

My condolences to the Autrey family. I was lucky to study with Byron throughout high school at MSU. I attribute most of my playing ability and knowledge to Byron. He was a man of integrity, musical talent and knowledge, and willing to go the extra mile for anyone. He will be deeply missed from the trumpet world.

Thomas Timlin

July 26, 2018

Correction, Byron came to the Jonesville program for me in 2003.

Thomas Timlin

July 26, 2018

My teacher in college and somewhat beyond. He came to my band program in Jonesville MI ca. 1983-84 and worked with my students, and also played a concert with us. Had a great sense of humor. At my school concert he was 78 years old, he demonstrated English "royal calling trumpets" with long bells and flags hanging from them. And the cornet solo he played with the band, and Ray Anthony's Trumpet Boogie with the trumpet section and me and the band. After his trumpet solo, he said to my audience, "I guess you don't see too many 78 year old football players, do ya?" Audience burst out laughing and cheered, but of course kept right on funding sports anyway....I later gave him a CD of the concert.

He would sit in with local groups such a community bands, (playing 3rd part probably to save his chops) including the big band I was in, just to have social night out, he would not take any money. Mostly because, he said, after we were paid, he could see we still did not HAVE any money, lol.

He always treated me with kind respect, and as if I were as good a player as those who played better than me. ..because he wanted me to aspire to be as great as possible. If you had a cold he would not force you to play and would sit and talk about the horn or some funny story. Probably did not want the cold either. One time a girl I knew who always sat behind me 4 chairs in band got 2nd chair and I landed in her place after auditions. I told him and he said "Her? She can't count her out of a paper bag sight reading. How did she pull that off?"

I'll miss you Mr. Autrey. You were a gem. Others in the Music Dept at MSU past and present may not know what caliber of person, not just a musician, they have lost. Be we all know. My sincere condolences to the Autrey family.

Ron Berndt

July 24, 2018

My father studied with Byron Autry when he was starting at MSU, I was lucky enough to do the same his last year there (on euphonium - the only one I think). As a low brass player with bone structure not suited to getting a sound on trumpet, I can play trumpet today only because of what I learned from Byron Autry about the production of tone. When he also magnificently restored an antique cornet for me to surprise my Dad, he had no idea he was starting me on the path to being a historian of the instrument and collector. (He got a great laugh hearing that his work on that horn was displayed at the University of Michigan in 2013!) Much of my understanding of how and why trumpets and cornets do what they do, and my ability to grow in my knowledge of design effects (not to mention playing) of trumpets all stems from what he initially taught me. It was the foundation on which my passion was built. I am lucky in those ways, but also in that after reading my book recently he sent me a note and we talked by phone for several hours as I furiously jotted down recollections and historical information relating to Renold Schilke, his days at Martin, the horns for Doc (and the challenges of being in the middle), and the more recent adventures as well. I only wish we had been able to get together as we discussed to talk more about leadpipes and Schilke research - a great lost research opportunity - I'll always wonder what he was planning to share next. But I am still so lucky that at least we were able to talk those few hours a couple months ago after so many years.

Larry Alpert

July 24, 2018

Byron was my trumpet teacher during my 4 years at MSU, 1966-1970. He was also a fraternity brother in Phi Mu Alpha and he performed in the Meridian Community Band as did I. I learned a lot from him and remember him fondly. I still have, and occasionally play, the Benge trumpet he advised me to purchase as a freshman.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Autrey,

Larry Alpert

Don Schneider

July 24, 2018

The time I spent with him in his shop discussing trumpet design and construction is time I will remember fondly. His knowledge and willingness to share with me his experience with trumpet makers was very insightful. I wish I could have had more time with him there was so much I could have learned.
My sincere condolences, if there is anything you need I would like to be of service to his family in any way I can.
Don Schneider