Dear NRB fans, we’ve lost Paul Klinger (May 5) and Dr. Vincent O’Keeffe (May 4), two giants of music and family. For both the term ‘giant’ speaks to their immense musical impact on jazz over the decades, their enjoyment of the camaraderie of musicians, and their love of life and family. And our own Bob Eastham, string bass player extraordinaire, lost Edna, his spouse of 67 years on May 1. These individuals made the lives of their families and the music of the NRB richer by far.
We want to tell you about these folks.
Dr. Vincent C. O’Keeffe
Dr. Vincent C. O’Keeffe of Grand Blanc, passed away at his home May 4, 2019. A celebration of life service will be held 11 am Tuesday, May 21 at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, 9057 South Saginaw Street, Grand Blanc, Michigan. The family will receive friends from 10 am until the time of the service.
Vince was born on October 10, 1921 to David and Frances (Dolan) O’Keeffe in Manchester, New Hampshire. Dr. O’Keeffe began his career as a professional musician at age 15 and performed for over 60 years, most notably with The New Reformation Jazz Band, a nationally recognized classical jazz band based in Michigan. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Boston University’s College of Music and his Masters and Doctoral degrees from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Vince moved to Michigan in 1975 to join the music faculty of the University of Michigan at the Flint campus.
In addition to his life-long passion for music, Vince was an accomplished amateur radio operator. As W1IDL, he made many friends and enjoyed traveling to various countries to meet his HAM radio friends. Vince also enjoyed sailing and long-distance cycling.
Vince is survived by his wife, Peggy; children Patricia (Mickey) Gingras of Florida and Jim (Christine) O’Keeffe of California, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
FROM HIS BIO on www.newref.com— Paul Klinger played baritone/soprano saxophones and the cornet. He started performing Dixieland in the late 50s. He was with ‘Mother’s Boys Jazz Band’, and toured nationally with Bonnie Raitt and Sippie Wallace, including appearances on the David Letterman and Mike Douglas TV shows.
His time with the New McKinney’s Cotton Pickers included concerts in Carnegie Hall, at the Newport Jazz Festival, and a European tour. His 15-year stretch with the Jim Dapogny Chicago Jazz Band included five appearances on the Prairie Home Companion radio show. Paul led his own Easy Street Jazz Band since 1970 and was a long time member of Paul Keller’s 16-piece Bird of Paradise Orchestra.
Comments from colleagues:
“Paul will be greatly missed. He was a long-time member of the New Reformation Jazz Band and a pillar of the Southeast Michigan jazz scene. Paul also led his own Easy Street Jazz Band; he was the leader of the New McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. Paul was also a long-time member of James Dapogny’s Chicago Jazz Band, and Mother’s Boys. He toured the USA with these and other bands for several decades and delighted in recounting every detail of those adventures to anyone who would listen. For me, Paul was one of the most influential musicians in my life. What a good friend he was! We love him and his wife Pam! Our hearts are with her and the Klinger family.” — Paul Keller
“The traditional jazz scene has been dealt another blow, with the passing of Paul Klinger, who contributed immensely not only as a performer but also as a mentor to countless young musicians. His loss will be deeply felt.” — Terry Kimura
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Founding Faculty Music Scholarship at the University of Michigan-Flint, the Golden Retriever Foundation, or the charity of your choice.
Edna Eastham, Spouse of Bob Eastham, and one half of a life-long partnership
Edna Eastham, the spouse of Bob Eastham, long time string bass player for the NRB, passed away Wednesday, May 1st. A memorial service will be 11 am Monday, May 13, 2019, at Vassar First United Methodist Church. Edna’s family will receive friends at the church from 10 am until the service. D
Edna was born in Watrousville, Michigan, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob and Vera (Miller) Robinson. She and Robert Eastham were united in marriage on July 1, 1951. Edna was Treasurer for the City of Vassar for 30 years. Edna also was an Avon lady for 20 years. Edna enjoyed her family, painting, flower arranging, crafts, traveling to Florida, sewing, and crocheting. She was also an active member of multiple Red Hat Societies throughout Tuscola County, where she was known as Lady Gaga.
On behalf of Vince, Paul, and Bob’s NRB bandmates, our condolences to the friends and families of these fine folks. We enjoyed sharing a portion of their vibrant lives.
— Dave Oppermann, Leader, The New Reformation Band