James "Jim" Leroy Eaton

January 24, 1944December 16, 2020
Obituary of James "Jim" Leroy Eaton
Born January 24, 1944 Died December 16, 2020 James Leroy “Jim” Eaton, cellist, music educator, and music industry leader, has passed. Jim was born into a happy family, the son of Harold Emmett Eaton and Lois Luella Eaton. He was the little brother of John Harold “Jack” Eaton, who had begged his parents to have another child that he could play with. As Jim would put it, “Jack literally willed me into existence.” Jim showed a love of music from a young age and began to play cello as a child. He was at home around musicians. As a teenager he had eventually loitered around the music store long enough that they offered him a job. Other than a few odd jobs, his entire professional life was spent in the service of music. Jim attended the University of Tulsa where he studied cello performance and music education. The dear friendships he made and his musical experiences in those years were a foundation for him until his last days. His musical career included Principal Cello positions with the Fox Theater Orchestra and the Muny Opera here in St. Louis. He had many entertaining stories of the celebrities he met through the Fox and the steaming hot summers in the pit of The Muny. He was also a music educator, teaching orchestra at Ritenour High School and Parkway North High School. He was a guiding force for his students and many of them stayed in touch and cared for him in these later years. Following this, he spent the rest of his career in the music industry, heading the string instrument divisions of Scherl and Roth and then Knilling Strings. He had a unique renaissance blend of interests that included classical music, cars, old westerns, knives and guns, photography, and anything British. He said that he would want to be remembered as “The Last of the Cowboy Cellists”. (He was also the first). He was first married to Carolyn, having children Marion and then Adam. His second marriage has been to Ann, having children Ben, Thomas “Tom”, and Lois. His grandchildren are Jessica, Josephine, Alex, Abigail, Leonardo, Chandler, and Olivia. It is this family that survives him and carries his legacy. A small private family service will be held. A larger public service will be held when it is safe to do so.

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