Born Friday, August 20, 1937
Died Friday, April 3, 2020
James Robert “Jim” McPherson, 82, of Muskogee, Oklahoma went to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, April 3, 2020. He was born on August 20, 1937 to Guy and Edith (Foster) McPherson in Claremore, Oklahoma. Jim taught music for twenty-five years in Oklahoma. He was a graduate of Hooker High School and earned both a Bachelor’s and Masters of music education degrees from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. While at Phillips University, he was a member of the Forty-Fifth Infantry Division National Guard Band, earning the rank of staff sergeant and becoming the director of the Stage Band.
He married the love of his life, Rudena Mae Krausse, on June 20, 1960 in Enid, Oklahoma. They shared over 59 years of a happy life and marriage together.
His teaching career began in the Waukomis Public Schools (1959-1963), where he taught both instrumental and vocal music. From 1963-1967 he taught instrumental music in the Cordell Public Schools, in 1967-1968 at Woodward. He then continued his music career as a sales associate and field clinician with the Southwestern Music Company in Weatherford, Oklahoma. In 1969 he returned to teaching in Muskogee, and taught two years at Alice Robertson Junior High, two years at West Junior High, and eleven years at Muskogee High School, where he was the director of the symphonic band, stage band and Jazz ensemble. He also taught classes in Music Theory. Jim spent his final years in education as the principal of Harris Jobe and Cherokee Elementary Schools, and retired in 1991. Organizations under Jim’s direction won the Oklahoma Sweepstakes Awards in 1980 and 1981. In 1981, the symphonic Band was selected as an Honor Organization for the Oklahoma Music Educators Association State Convention. During his career, the Symphonic Band won many honors in concert performance, including four “superior plus” ratings and ten “superior” ratings. Under his direction, The Muskogee Band was chosen to march in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington D.C. in 1982.
The Muskogee band programs under Jim’s direction won many awards in the area of jazz education. The Alice Robertson Jr. High Jazz Ensemble was named Most Outstanding at the Tri-State Music Festival. The MHS Jazz Ensemble was five times named Most Outstanding at OSSAA contests. They were also named Most Outstanding at Phillips University Jazz Festival in Enid, Oklahoma; Southwestern Music Festival in Amarillo; the northeastern Jazz Festival in Tahlequah; and the University of Tulsa Festival. The 1978 MHS Jazz Ensemble was selected by the National Association of Jazz Educators to perform as the High School Honor Band during the National MENC Convention in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1976, The Jazz Ensemble was selected by Jazz Tours International to tour in Europe for two weeks. They performed in Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; Amsterdam in the Netherlands; Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. Jim served as State Chair of the Oklahoma chapter of ASBDA, President of the Oklahoma Unit of NAJE, and in 1976, as president of OBA. He also served as the OBA Marching Band Chair, and in 1978 was chair of the Oklahoma All State Band. In 1982, Jim was named the OBA Band Director of the Year.
Jim was a member of Boulevard Christian Church for many years. Jim loved his family very much and enjoyed spending as much time as possible with them. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Guy and Edith McPherson; brother, Norman McPherson; brothers-in-law, Ted Williams and Maurice Mitchell.
He is survived by his loving wife, Rudena McPherson of the home; daughters, Kim Brownell and husband Mark of Muskogee, OK, Terri Bookout and husband Daryl of Depew, OK, and Shari McPherson and John Clark of Muskogee, OK; grandchildren, Kali Anderson and husband Jacob of Norman, OK, Seth Brownell and wife Rhianna of Broken Arrow, OK, Cade Brownell and wife Leah of Bixby, OK, Meredith Bentley and husband Tommy of Choctaw, OK, and Elizabeth Martin and husband Wade of Prague, OK; great-grandchildren, Maxine Joy Anderson, Callie and Skyler Davis, Bentley Wade; Christian, Cannon, and Elianna Bentley; sisters, Patrica Williams Boliver, MO, and Kathryn Mitchell of Hooker, OK; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
In lieu of flowers Jim’s family has requested memorials be made to the Muskogee Alumni Community Band. ttps://cityofmuskogeefoundation.org
Jim's family will celebrate his life with a private family graveside service with Dr. Stephen Wiley and Pastor James McCracken officiating. his grandchildren, Kalie and Jacob Anderson, Seth and Rhianna Brownell, Cade and Leah Brownell, Meredith and Tommy Bentley, Elizabeth and Wade Martin will be serving as honorary pallbearers.
Funeral services are under the direction of Cornerstone Funeral Home, 1830 North York St, Muskogee, Oklahoma. Condolences may be made to the family online at www.cornerstoneofmuskogee.com.