The Richmond Register


April 6, 2013

Dwight Dean Gatwood Sr., 94


RICHMOND — Dwight Dean Gatwood, 94, of Richmond, Kentucky, died, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, in Richmond.

Dwight Dean Gatwood Sr., better known as Dean, was born in Tipton, Ind., on April 15, 1918, to E.J. and Margaret DeLay Gatwood. He was the second of six children.

He graduated from Peabody Demonstration School and received his B.A. in music and art and his M.A. in art from George Peabody College for Teachers. He also did additional graduate study at Ohio State University and New York University.

Dean met the girl of his dreams when his family moved back to Nashville at the end of the Depression. When they arrived in Nashville, their furniture had not yet arrived. His parents remembered that a family that lived on the next street from their house operated a boarding house. It was there that he saw Grace, sitting on a swing on the front porch of the boarding house - the prettiest girl he had ever seen. They were married December 28, 1940.

Dean taught art at Covington High School and band at Talladega High School in Alabama. He was teaching at the University of Alabama when he was drafted into the army in 1944. His scheduled participation in invasion of Nagasaki was canceled after the dropping of the atomic bomb.

While in the army, he served as the director of the 33rd Division Army Band, and the West Camp Band in Kobe, Japan, at the end of World War II. After the war he returned to the University of Alabama for one year, after which he joined the art faculty at Eastern Kentucky University in 1947, until his retirement in 1980.

He was a gifted artist and musician. His art works include ceramics, watercolor, and oil and acrylic paintings. He was also an expert at calligraphy. He taught courses in lettering and color theory, as well as ceramics and painting.

Part of his duties at Eastern included teaching art at the university’s Model Laboratory School, and toward the end of his teaching career at Eastern, art education. His main teaching interest at that point was in early childhood art development.

He was a prolific jazz cornet player and performed with the EKU Swing Band, as well as with the Roy Sharp Orchestra of Lexington, Ky. In addition, he played cornet in the “Bourbonaires” for many years, and arranged many of the works they performed.

The Richmond Choral Society, of which he was an active member, commissioned Dean to compose the music for the poem, “The Unreturning”- the poem that is on the back of the Vietnam Memorial on the courthouse square in Richmond, Ky. The song was written for the bicentennial of Madison County, Kentucky, and dedicated to the memory of Dean’s friend, Dr. William L. Keene, who wrote the poem in 1944 during World War II.

The music is an SATB arrangement and was debuted by the Richmond Choral Society on March 23, 1986, at First Baptist Church in Richmond. The tape of the piece is included in the Bicentennial time capsule from the Bicentennial Celebration along with a picture and a write-up of the Choral Society Concert.

He also wrote a number of anthems for the church choir in which he sang for nearly 60 years at First Christian Church in Richmond, Ky., and for which he often served as interim choir director.

Dean was always willing to use his artistic skills for school, church and community organizations.

He designed the Ceremonial Mace for Eastern Kentucky University. He drew the picture of the First Christian Church of Richmond that was printed on its weekly bulletin for many decades. He designed and painted posters & signs for the Richmond Area Arts Council. He also designed the logo for the Jean Jacques Dufour Chapter of the American Wine Society, and with his wife, Grace, created and wrote the monthly newsletter for this organization for 20 years. He also arranged the “theme song” for the Wine Society.

He made wine as a hobby for many years, creating some very interesting varieties of wine, such as Persimmon Wine, which was the hit of the American Wine Society Convention in 2001 in Hilton Head, SC.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Grace Opal Gentry Gatwood; his parents; his brother, Robin Gatwood; and his nephew, Robin Gatwood Jr.

Surviving are: his three children, Dr. Dwight Dean Gatwood Jr. of Martin, Tenn., Joseph Gentry (“Jody”) Gatwood of Clarksville, Md., and Carole Grace Gatwood of Huntington Woods, Mich.; his seven grandchildren, Lisa Ann Gatwood of Taylor Mill, Ky., David Alan Gatwood of Sunnyvale, Calif., Rachel and Matthew Dean Gatwood of Clarksville, Md., Eric, Peter, and Nicholas Rifel of Huntington Woods, Mich.; two sisters, Barbara Thompson of Memphis, Tenn., and Mary Wallace of Nashville, Tenn., and one brother, Elden J. Gatwood of Pittsburgh, Penn.; and their children and grandchildren.

He was a wonderful father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend.

Services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Richmond, Kentucky, with Dr. Glen Birkett officiating. Friends will be received from 10 a.m. until service time that Tuesday at the church.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Stephen Foster Music Scholarship that was created in the Gatwood’s honor. Please make the checks out to: The Cecilian Club and note that it is for the Grace and Dean Gatwood Scholarship. Contributions may be sent to: The Cecilian Club, The Grace and Dean Gatwood Scholarship c/o Pat O’Connor 113 Whispering Woods Richmond, KY 40475.

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