Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Robert McDowell was president of the NAMM Board of Directors from 1969-1971. During that time he assisted William Gard in the expansion of the NAMM organization, including more hands on involvement with AMC and its publication Music USA. As a retailer in St.

Kay McDowell now (and may always) holds the record for the most NAMM shows attended --83 in a row! As a very young girl, she accompanied her father, the owner of Ludwig Aeolian of St. Louis, Missouri, to the show.

Boots Randolph was the capable saxophonist who proved the instrument could serve a vital role in both rock and roll and country music. His sax can be heard on a range of recordings in which he was both leader and sideman. His “Yakey Sax” hit brought a renewed energy and interest to the saxophone in popular music.

Edna Mae Burnam authored the now classic piano training books “A Dozen a Day” to help beginners learn in a fun and meaningful way. Her books have been critical to millions of young pianists around the world for over 60 years.

Elizabeth Ludwig-Fennell was always surrounded by music. As a child, she played piano. As a young adult, she helped develop the Ludwig Music Publishing Company. She later married the founder.

Don Kirkendall was hired by Electro Voice founder Al Kahn to serve as the company’s advertisement manager in 1954. Don’s creative approach to the company’s line of speakers and microphones earned him several industry awards and increased sales annually for 3 decades in a row. Among the most noted campaigns was for the Buchanan 644 microphone, which gained a reputation for its solid body and durable sound.

Wilhelm Gertz was often seen working on the action of a vintage grand piano whenever you stopped to visit him in his store. After all, he has been doing this same thing most of his life. He was born into a family in Germany who ran the largest piano company in the country.

Jim Cruickshank had an eye for design! While a proud member of the Fender guitar team, Jim designed many of the most memorable trade show displays for the company, including the 14-foot neck and headstock.

Billy Carson was listed in the Guinness book of world records for growing the largest watermelon ever weighed. And if you think that is something, consider the fact that Billy also worked with Leo Fender in streamlining the Stratocaster electric guitar in the early 1950s.

Frankie Laine earned over 20 gold records as one of America's leading crooners of the 1950s. Over his long career he sold over 100 million records.

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