Dr. Bill Denison leaves legacy in Troy community

Published 9:58 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

The impact of Dr. William “Bill” Denison’s death on Friday was felt across many segments of the Troy community and left many hearts saddened.

Denison, a native of Michigan, moved to Troy with his family in 1967 to teach music at Troy State University, where he spent 50 years teaching music and directing the Collegiate and Madrigal Singers. He was selected as an inaugural member of the Alabama Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.

He was an active member of the Troy community and served in several leadership roles, including the Jean Lake Art Festival, the Troy Arts Council, the Troy Music Study Club and the Southeastern Alabama Community Band, of which he was a founding member.

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Denison was a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. He served as organist and choirmaster for St. Mark’s for 50 years and First Presbyterian Church for 40 years.

Music held a special place in Denison’s heart, said Ralph Black, who played with him in the community band.

“We were on opposite sides of the band but I knew what a great musician Bill was,” Black said. “He was a trombone player, a great one. But probably not many people knew that because he played the organ for so long. He helped a lot of music students and they all loved him. He was a great guy. He will be missed in many ways.”

Pat Duke served with Denison on the Troy Arts Council and remembers him as a quiet, wonderful person.

“Bill was a man of few words but he had great humor about him,” Duke said. “He had quiet humor and he was a joy to be around. And, he had amazing organizational skills. Most often he worked behind the scenes. He always got the job done but he never took any credit for what he did. He was easy to work with and was greatly admired by many. He made many contributions to the Troy community. All of us who knew him will greatly miss him.”

Dr. John Jinright said Denison was a treasure for the community in so many ways, at Troy University, in the arts, for two congregations.

“I have known Bill for nearly 50 years,” Jinright said. “He was kind and generous to everyone. He was supportive of his family, his wife, Jane, and his children – all of his family. Bill was a great man who gave all he could and loved everybody he met. We all will miss him.”