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Collection Pete, Louis E. collection
Title Louis E. Pete, collection
Accession number 2011-32
Caption Louis E. Pete.
Catalog Number 2011-32archives
Imagefile 008\201132archives.JPG
Object Name Records
People Pete, Louis
Scope & Content Dr. Louis E. Pete 1895-1971

Dr. Louis E. Pete, known affectionately as "Doc" and "Ashland's Music Man," died April 23, 1971 at the age of 75. Born in Tiffin, Ohio, June 24, 1895, he was the son of Louis E. and Mary Louise (Ferguson) Pete. His early boyhood was spent in Loudonville, Ohio. From there he left with his family to make his home in Hope, Arkansas. Leaving Arkansas a few years later, he came to Donora, Pennsylvania to make his home. In 1918 he came to Ashland, Ohio after serving as a cost accoutant with a large steel mill in Donora.

Always having a love for music, Dr. Pete became director of music for Ashland High School while continuing with his education to further qualify himself as a music educator. Subsequently he became well known in a field far removed from accounting. Under his direction, the Ashland public School music department became a model throughout the United States. His musical organizations won national awards repeatedly. Honor upon honor was bestowed upon him. His popularity was statewide and he was held in high respect by educators in the field of music throughout the nation.

Dr. Pete was graduated from Ashland College, Ashland, Ohio in 1927 and again in 1936 and was presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Music in 1939 from Ashland College. He served as supervisor of music for the Ashland City Schools for 37 years and associate professor of music education at Ashland College until his retirement in 1965. He served as director of the First Christian Church Choir where he was an active member and later the Trinity Lutheran Choir for a combined period of over 30 years. He served for many years on the board of Ashland Public Library.

Dr. Pete started the series of successful high school musicals at Ashland High School in 1956 including the first high school production of "The King and I" in the entire country. The annual presentation of top Broadway musicals continues to this day drawing capacity crowds each year.

The music master of 41 years was director of the All-Ohio Bays Band for 35 years, retiring in 1967. Throughout those years he personally directed over 5,300 boys. He was honored during the 40th anniversary reunion for 6,000 Ohioans who had been part of the band in special ceremonies during the 1966 Ohio State Fair. Dr. Pete directed many bands and orchestras and had terms of playing Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits as a member of a male quartet.

He was a guest lecturer at Northwestern University Graduate School; adjudicator of state music contests in Ohio, Indiana, Mirrouri and Georgia as well as numerous district music clincis at University of Michigan, Georgia State College for Women, Ohio State University, Ohio University, Western Reserve University, Obelin and mony other colleges, He was the author of many articles which have appeared in the Music Education Journal.

He founded the Ashland Symphony Orchestra in 1936 with the help of the late Mrs. T. W. Miller, Sr. The symphony performed a number of nationwide raido broadcasts. He was commissioned by former Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes to organize and direct the All-Ohio Youth Orchestra and was director of the Ashland-Mansfield area union band. He held a lifetime membership in the Musicians Protective Association, Local 159 of Mansfield. He served as guest conductor of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra and for many years was in charge of the Ashland summer band program at Brookside Park, Ashland, Ohio.

As a result of Dr. Pete's enthusiatic interest in carrying through his plans and with the generous financial assistance of the late John C. Myers Sr. and the late Mrs. Guy C. Myers, the music program in Ashland developed and the $112,000 bandshell was constructed in Brookside Park.

His awards and honors were numerous including the Distinguished Service Award by the Department of Agriculture, a bronze plaque for inspired service by Ohio Gov. Frank Lausche, the Distinguised Service Award by the Ohio Music Association, and many more. An important local formal tribute to Dr. Pete was the first public school teacher in Ohio's history to receive the coveted Governor's Award.

Dr. Pete was married January 25, 1919 to Lulu L. Shearer, who survived. Also surviving are one daughter, Mrs. Richard L. Henrietta Krabach on Cincinnati; one sister, Mrs. Lawrence Fritz (Mildred Pete) of Ashland; Two brothers, Fred F. of Washington, Pa. and H. Austin of Donora, Pa.; three grandchildren and one great Grandson.