Dr. William Rae Denison

Published 10:04 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

Dr. William Rae Denison, 81, of Troy, passed away on Friday, February 15, 2019, after a brief battle with cancer. Dr. Denison was born August 25, 1937, in Port Huron, Michigan, to Joseph Denison and Gertrude (Rinn) Denison. He was the valedictorian at Port Huron High School, class of 1955. He attended the University of Michigan where he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a Bachelor’s in Pipe Organ Performance and a Masters in Music Literature. He also marched in the University of Michigan Band four years under the direction of Dr. William D. Revelli. Dr. Denison moved to Huntsville to become the organist at The Church of the Nativity. Later, he began teaching at Athens State College where he met his wife of 54 years, Ollie Jane (Moore) Denison.

In 1967, Dr. Denison and his family moved to Troy to teach music at Troy State University. After one year of teaching, Dr. Ralph Adams suggested he further his education at Florida State University, where he earned a doctoral degree in music theory in 1969. He spent 50 years teaching music at Troy State University. His duties included directing the Collegiate and Madrigal Singers, teaching music theory, music history, conducting, piano and organ lessons, teaching methods, conducting the opera and musical workshop performances and taught the occasional low brass student. He was a recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Dr. Denison also served as chairman of the Academic Council as well as writing the Troy State University Bulletin for many years. Dr. Denison was also responsible for the music department being accredited for the first time by the National Association of Schools of Music. He also served as the first director of the John M. Long School of Music. Dr. Denison was selected as an inaugural member of the Alabama Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.

As a confirmed member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Dr. Denison served as both organist and choirmaster for both St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church for 50 and 40 years respectively. He also served as Senior Warden at St. Mark’s.

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Dr. Denison was an active member and served in various leadership roles in the community, which included the Troy Arts Council and the Troy Music Study Club. He was a founding member of the Southeastern Alabama Community Band.

After retirement, he and his wife Jane enjoyed running a thriving antique store in Troy. They traveled extensively throughout the Southeast to find “treasures” for the store.

Dr. Denison is survived by his wife Jane; his two sons, Joey (Sharon) and Rae (Bronda) of Troy; seven grandchildren, Will Denison of Troy, Joey (Becca) Denison of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Carrley Barron of Columbus, Georgia, Cailyn Barron of Troy, Trey Denison of Fitzgerald, Georgia, Katie Denison of Ocilla, Georgia, Alec Denison of Ocilla, Georgia.

Visitation was held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, February 17, 2019, from 4 to 6 p.m. The funeral service was held on Monday, February 18, at 1:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Troy. Graveside services will follow immediately at Green Hills Memorial Cemetery with the Reverend Curtis Kennington officiating.

Pallbearers were Will Denison, Joey Denison, Trey Denison, Alec Denison, Jeffrey Moore and Merrill Green.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Troy.

To sign the online guest register, please visit our website at dillardfh.com.