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January 7, 1999

John B. "Doc" Anderson

John B. "Doc" Anderson, Pitt assistant band director from 1948 to 1970, died Dec. 25, 1998, in St. Clair Hospital, where he was being treated for pneumonia. He was 77.

Under Anderson's baton – and that of then-director Robert "Ace" Arthur – Pitt's marching band was regarded as one of the country's top three in the 1950s and 1960s, together with the Ohio State and University of Michigan bands.

"People describe Arthur as being the taskmaster, while my father was always able to break the tension with a smile or a joke," said Anderson's son, Jack Anderson Jr., who was named assistant director of University Bands at Pitt in 1986 and director in 1995.

A Sharon, Pa., native, the senior Anderson played with the Pitt band while attending as an undergraduate and dentistry student from 1939 to 1944. After a stint in the U.S. Army, Anderson practiced dentistry in Sharon, retiring in 1993.

But his second love was music. In addition to devoting Thursday and Saturday evenings to the Pitt band, Anderson performed in bands in Erie and Sharon. He founded and directed the Shenango Valley Concert Band in Sharon.

Anderson's son said: "The preacher who spoke at the memorial service was a Pitt band alumnus from the 1950s, and he summed up my father by saying: 'He always had a smile on his face, he was well-liked by everyone who knew him, and he was truly a gentle man.' That was certainly true. I don't think my father ever had an enemy in his life." Anderson also is survived by his wife, V. Louise Ashbaugh Anderson of Scott; daughter Judith Louise Dockey of Wyomissing, Berks County, and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the University of Pittsburgh Marching Band, Box 7436, Pittsburgh 15213.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 31 Issue 9

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