Memorial Services for Dr. Perry Brooks Dennis, Jr will be held at University Baptist Church, 3200 Arlington Loop in Hattiesburg, MS on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 10:00. Visitation will begin at 9:00.
The only child of Perry B. Dennis, Sr. (Greenwood) and Cornelia Crawford Rush (Starkville) was born June 5, 1917. Perry became a student of music and was leader of one of two dance bands (The Cadets) at Mississippi State College from where he received a BS degree in 1938. He also served as band director at Starkville High School from 1935-39 during which time he met and married Clara Pearson King of Durant. He received a BMEd degree from VanderCook College in1940, taught in the Dallas Public Schools from ’41-’43, then served in the 560th Army Air Corps as a ‘big band’ musician entertaining allied troops in India during WWII. Upon discharge he became band director at Carr Central High School in Vicksburg from ’45 – ’50. His MMEd degree was earned from the University of Michigan in 1951. He then served as band director in his home town of Greenwood from ’52 – ’56 during which period he was also director of the ’52 and ’53 MS Lion’s All-State Band. From ’56 to ’62 he taught in the Calcasieu Parish Schools, repaired musical instruments, taught private lessons, and played string bass in a jazz combo in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area. In ’62 he accepted the band director’s position at LaGrange Senior High and remained there until 1969. Upon completion of doctoral studies at USM (’70), he was offered an Assistant Professorship as coordinator of student teaching in the Fine Arts Dept. From ’74-’76, he served as President of the MS Music Educator’s Association. Upon retirement in 1982 Dr. Dennis resumed his hobby of instrument repair and published 2 books related to 4 pioneer bandmasters and the history of the Mississippi Bandmasters Association which he served as President from ’50-’52. He also published a symphonic excerpt transcribed for band and served as adjudicator and clinician for music contests and clinics in MS, LA, TX, and AR. Dr Dennis played in community bands in Hattiesburg, Greenwood, and Starkville until age 92.
Dr. Dennis (96) was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, and a son (Perry III b1942-d1965). He is survived by daughter-in-law Pam Marshall Malmberg (Norm), sons Robert Rush Dennis and Randy Dennis (Anne Richards), 2 grandsons Marc Benton (Kelly) and Ben Roberts (Jennifer), granddaughter Carmen Rush Sweitzer (Dale), 14 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be sent to University Baptist Church or MSU Foundation – Famous Maroon Band, P.O. Box 6149, MS State, MS, 39762.