Robert Richard "Dick" Trevarthen, Jr. passed away peacefully at 1 pm, August 17, 2022 with family and friends by his side in Waynesville, North Carolina at the age of 89.
Born March 8, 1933 in Bessemer City, North Carolina to Robert Richard Trevarthen (1911-1994) and Candance Willodene Froneberger (1914-1994), Dick started playing piano at a young age, graduated from Gastonia High School and Duke University where he played trombone in the marching band and completed his Master’s degree in Music at the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty at Western Carolina University where he taught his whole career.
Dick was defined by his passion for teaching, composing, arranging and playing music. After graduation from Duke, he toured Europe on a USO tour with the Duke Ambassadors. He is remembered as a stern but engaging professor of music theory at Western Carolina University by his students. Beyond the classroom his accomplishments include writing the WCU fight song, arranging music for high school marching bands who won national competitions, serving as the Director of Bands at WCU, starting the Blue Ridge Big Band, the Smoky Mountain British Brass Band, the Haywood County Arts Council, and numerous music reviews, singing groups and creating and producing theater plays for HART. He was immensely respected by his students and peers for his insightful teaching, his musical analysis, and his love of playing small or large gigs on the piano. With his wife, Ann and his mother-in-law, Madaline Strain Kendrick, Dick shared a special musical relationship throughout his life, as they learned and performed together.
Dick loved to travel, and with his wife Ann he explored his ancestral home of Cornwall, England; took in musical history in Vienna, Austria with his dear friends Paul and Ginny Bryan of Duke University; and showed his children Broadway and the joys of New York City. He loved to play tennis, read the New Yorker magazine, and in his retirement years wrote books and analysis related to music.
He is survived by his sons Daniel Robert Trevarthen and his wife, Cynthia of Los Angeles, California; Ronald Wayne Trevarthen and his wife, Karen of Portland, Oregon; Richard Lawrence "Larry" Trevarthen and his wife, Carol of Vancouver, Washington; Christian Banks Trevarthen and his partner, Chad Johnston of Portland, Oregon, stepson John William Hargrove and his wife, Kelly of Birmingham, Alabama; and stepdaughter Virginia "Ginny" Turner and her husband Rusty of Waynesville, North Carolina. Dick also is survived by six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren as well as numerous cousins, nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by his wife, Ann Kendrick Trevarthen who passed in 2012.
He will be missed by many. A musical celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, 2022 in the Lakeside White Tent at Lake Junaluska (indoors in case of rain). The Blue Ridge Big Band, founded by Dick, will perform several numbers, as well as a special trombone choir.
As Dick was active in many organizations, a donation in his name may be made to the arts or music organization of your choice.
The care of Mr. Trevarthen has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville.