Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Ronald Louis Prill

Sep 09, 2013

Ronald Louis Prill, 81, of Fairfield, died in his sleep today, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, at Jefferson County Health Center.

A funeral is at 10 a.m. Saturday at United Methodist Church with the Rev. Stacy Grau officiating. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery in Fairfield with military rites by the 34th Army Band, Iowa Army National Guard.

Visitation for family and friends is 5-8 p.m. Friday at Raymond Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the Education Foundation of Fairfield Public Schools for a planned Ron Prill Memorial Scholarship, First Lutheran Church or Fairfield Concert Association.

Cards and memorials can be sent to Linda Prill Mench at Raymond Funeral Home, 112 W. Burlington Ave., Fairfield 52556.

Online condolences may be sent to www.raymondfuneralhomes.com.

Mr. Prill was born April 15, 1932, in Fairfield, the son of Orville and Elvira Rudi Prill. He married Betty Lou Bipes Dec. 18, 1955, in Ottumwa. She died Oct. 12, 2001.

He graduated from Fairfield High School in 1950. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Parsons College in 1954 and a master of arts degree in music education from Iowa State University in 1962.

He joined the Iowa Army National Guard, 34th Army Band, as an enlisted trombonist, in 1948.

He was named band director and company commander of the 34th Army Band in 1972, a post he held for 20 years. He retired from the Iowa Army National Guard in 1992 after 44 years of service. He received many awards including the Legion of Merit.

As a member, and later commander, of the 34th Army Band, Mr. Prill played a large role in performing summer band concerts in Fairfield’s Central Park. When the 34th Army Band could no longer play concerts in the park, he organized the Fairfield Municipal Band in 1987 so summer concerts could continue. He directed the municipal band for a few years; however, even after he stepped down as director, he continued to play with the band until June.

In all, Mr. Prill brought music to the community for more than 50 summers.

On July 30, Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy dedicated the bandstand in Central Park to Ron Prill for his years of dedication to the city of Fairfield. After receiving this award, Mr. Prill directed the municipal band in a march for the last time.

After earning his bachelor of arts degree, Mr. Prill taught vocal and instrumental music from 1954 to 1956 at New Sharon Independent School District in New Sharon. In 1956, he accepted a position as elementary music teacher for Fairfield Independent Schools. He was later named music teacher at the new Fairfield Junior High School, now Pence Elementary School.

When his mentor Dillon Lowell retired in 1972, Mr. Prill accepted the position of band director at Fairfield High School, a position he held until his retirement from teaching in 1992. He was named Teacher of the Year in 1991.

During his tenure at FHS, he took band students on many trips. Under his supervision, FHS band students were able to perform at International Lions Conventions in Mexico City, Mexico and Phoenix, Ariz., as well as at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., Disneyworld in Florida and in Winnipeg, Canada.

In addition to his involvement with the FHS, 34th Army and Fairfield municipal bands, Mr. Prill played in many small music groups, including church and community bands. He was an original member of the Fairfield Dixieland Band and a member of the Iowa Military Veterans Band and Tarnished Brass Band in Van Buren County. He also sang in the Fairfield Community Chorus.

After his retirement from teaching and the military, he served as the Jefferson County emergency management coordinator for four years.

He was a member of First Lutheran Church ELCA.

He also was a member of Fairfield Lions Club for more than 50 years, the Fairfield Concert Association and the Education Foundation of Fairfield Public Schools.

He served as president of the CALU Apartment Board and the Iowa Bandmaster’s Association.

He was editor of the Iowa Bandmaster’s Association state magazine for four years.

In addition to his lifelong devotion to music, he enjoyed golfing, swimming, biking, boating, waterskiing, camping and creating jewelry art and memory books for his family.

Survivors include two daughters, Nancy Prill Leathers and spouse Jerry of Stockport and Linda Prill Mench and spouse R. Michael of Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents and his stepmother, Mary Barnes Gunerson.

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