Remembering past bandleaders, musicians, arrangers and ballroom operators.

Savitt, Jan
Band Leader Jan Savitt Dead
Sacramento, Oct. 4 (UP) – Orchestra Leader Jan Savitt, 35, died in a hospital here today of cerebral hemorrhage.
He suffered a stroke while enroute to Sacramento Saturday from Los Angeles. A member of the band told attending physicians that he and Savitt had traveled here from Los Angeles in a station wagon to fill a Saturday night dance engagement. Savitt appeared to be asleep for most of the trip and his illness wasn’t discovered until an attempt was made to arouse him.
[Source: Marietta Journal (Marietta, Georgia), dated October 4, 1948]

Jan Savitt, Band Leader, Is Dead
Sacramento, Cal., Oct. 4 (AP) – Jan Savitt, 35-year-old orchestra leader, died in Sacramento County Hospital early today of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Savitt was stricken while en route here Saturday for an engagement at Memorial Auditorium. His orchestra fulfilled its engagement Saturday night without the leader.
Mrs. Savitt flew to Sacramento Sunday from Los Angeles and was at her husband’s bedside when death occurred.
[Source: Springfield Union (Springfield, Massachusetts), dated October 5, 1948]

Sanders, Joe
Joe Sanders, Bandleader
Kansas City, Mo. (AP) – Joe Sanders, 68, bandleader, songwriter, singer and piano player, died Friday in Veterans Hospital. He had suffered several strokes in the last two years.
Mr. Sanders was known professionally as the Ole Left Hander because he once pitched a perfect baseball game of 27 consecutive strike-outs for the Kansas City Athletic Club.
In 1919 Mr. Sanders and the late Carleton Coon organized the Coon-Sanders band, which became nationally known through its pioneering radio broadcasts, the Nighthawks Frolic, over station WDAF in Kansas City.
[Source: Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), dated May 15, 1965]

Shaw, Artie
Innovative swing-era musician Shaw dies at 94
Los Angeles - Artie Shaw, who rose to fame as one of the swing era's finest bandleaders and most innovative clarinetists but then slammed the door on the music business with a Shakespearean flourish, died Thursday. He was 94.
Shaw, whose eight wives included such Hollywood legends as Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, died at his home in Newbury Park, Calif., about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The cause of death was not announced, but Shaw had been in failing health for some time.
From the 1930s to the mid-1950s, Shaw formed, disbanded and reunited bands that made some of the most enduring recordings of the swing era, from his first hit in 1938 with Cole Porter's haunting "Begin the Beguine" to his last recordings with the highly esteemed Gramercy Five, made in 1954 and released more than 30 years later.
[Source: Rockford Register Star (Rockford, Illinois), dated December 31, 2004]

Spear, Sammy
Sammy Spear Dies; Gleason Bandleader
Miami, Fla. (AP) – Bandleader Sammy Spear, a regular for many years on the Jackie Gleason TV show, died Tuesday of a heart attack at his home. He was 65.
Spear, whose real name was Shapiro, grew up in New York City and joined Gleason in the late 1940s.
[Source: Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), dated March 11, 1975]

Spivak, Irene Daye
Spivak’s Wife Dies
Greenville, S.C. (AP) – Irene Daye Spivak, a vocalist during the big band era and wife of bandleader Charlie Spivak, died Monday after a long illness. She was 53.
[Source: Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), dated November 3, 1971]

Stanley, Robert J.
Robert John Stanley was born on August 29, 1939 in Brockton, Massachusetts to Robert W. and Stella (Mineikis) Stanley. He grew up in Brockton where he attended grade school and graduated from Brockton High School in 1957. He went on to attend the Boston Conservatory and Berkley School of Music. As a youngster, he always had an interest in music and spent a great deal of time working as a musician. After his schooling, he went on the road with other musicians.
In 1961, Bob enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he spent 20 years in service to his country. He was a member of the Air Force Band. He was discharged on October 31, 1981 at the Offutt Air Base in Bellevue, Nebraska. He married Diane Schroeder on August 27, 1967 at the Offutt Base Chapel in Bellevue, Nebraska. They made their home in the Omaha area and Panama before retiring to their permanent western Douglas County home. Bob continued to enjoy his lifelong passion for music and acquired a new hobby turned business with his woodworking.
Bob passed away on June 21, 2001 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 61 years, 9 months and 23 days. He is survived by his wife Diane; sister Geraldine (Gerry) Stanley of Rockland, Massachusetts; many other relatives and friends.
[Source: Diane Stanley]

Strawn, Frank
Musician is Killed
Horton, Kas., March 24 – Frank Strawn, Omaha theater pianist, died in a Sabetha hospital Thursday night of injuries suffered in a motor car accident six miles north of Netawaka. The car skidded in the snow and mud, struck a culvert and was wrecked. Three other occupants of the car, all of Council Bluffs, were injured, two seriously, and were brought to a hospital here. Lucius Pryor, 63, suffered a leg fracture and severe scalp wounds. His son, Phillip, 25, suffered a fractured pelvis and a broken collar bone. Martino Rossi, a singer, suffered a bruised chest. The three companions of Rossi were accompanying him on a trip as radio entertainers. They were on their way to Wichita.
[Source: Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska), dated March 24, 1933]

Sutton, Elmer
Rites Monday for Elmer Sutton, Former Musician in Lincoln
Elmer Sutton, 44, former Lincoln musician, died Thursday evening at his home in Omaha, following a lingering illness. Death was attributed to a brain tumor. A violinist, Sutton was considered an extraordinary musician, and was well known among musicians and theatrical people, having been both a player and director in Lincoln, Omaha, and Sioux City orchestras. To troupers of the old Orpheum circuit he was known from coast to coast. A year ago Sutton introduced children’s music appreciation concerts into the Omaha elementary schools. Since then the practice has been adopted nationally.
Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon, when at 2 o’clock the entire Civic orchestra of Omaha, will play Sutton’s favorite selections. An uncle, Harry Brader, of the Minneapolis Symphony orchestra and guest conductor of the Civic orchestra, will conduct. Members of the Omaha Musicians’ association will attend in a body.
[Source: Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska), dated October 16, 1937]

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