GREENVILLE — Retired Sergeant Major Ken McCoy passed away early the morning of January 11, 2018, at Kettering Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. He was born September 17, 1946, in Ironton, Ohio, to John E. and Mary Jean (Volgares) McCoy.
SGM McCoy joined the Ohio State University Marching Band staff in the fall of 1995. Before joining TBDBITL, he had an illustrious career as Chief Arranger for the world-renowned United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus in Washington, D.C. By virtue of the Field Band’s mission, McCoy’s arrangements and compositions have been performed in all 50 states and around the world. The Field Band is still performing some of McCoy’s works today, decades after they were first commissioned.
A native of the Buckeye State, McCoy was born and raised in Ironton and graduated from Greenville (Ohio) High School.
McCoy attended Bowling Green State University where he studied music arranging. He eventually transferred to The University of North Texas (North Texas State) from which he earned his degree in Music Education. While at North Texas, McCoy was fortunate enough to play trumpet in the famous One ‘O Clock Jazz Lab Band. He also played trumpet, electric base, and arranged for the Les Elgart Orchestra during that period. He returned to Ohio upon his 1973 graduation to begin teaching instrumental music in Greenville and Versailles before accepting an arranging position with the United States Army Field Band in early 1977.
One of the high points of McCoy’s Field Band career was the premier of his original composition, “We the People,” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on September 17, 1987. This performance commemorated the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution.
The first show McCoy arranged for the OSUMB was a patriotic show for the Illinois game in 1995. Since that time, he has arranged at least one full half time show per year for the band culminating with his 23rd show in 2017, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The OSUMB students have honored McCoy by choosing his shows for performances at two Sugar Bowls, one Outback Bowl, and an Alamo Bowl.
Ken was especially proud of his collaboration in the production of the OSUMB Christmas CD, “The Glorious Sounds of Christmas.”
In the fall of 1997, Dr. Jon Woods, then-director of the band, requested McCoy to arrange a warm-up/ear-training piece; his arrangement of “The Navy Hymn/ Eternal Father, Strong to Save” was the result. It has been used by the OSUMB as an opening piece at Skull Sessions and concerts. Ken once stated, “I don’t think either of us expected that simple piece to have enjoyed the life it has had. It has earned a special place in OSUMB lore, and for that I will be forever grateful…”
Ken was pre-deceased by his parents, grandparents, and numerous friends and fellow musicians.
Left to cherish Ken’s memory and influence are his beloved and devoted wife, Brenda (Paulus) McCoy; son Kevin (Ann) McCoy of Baltimore, MD; step-daughter Abby Francis of Indianapolis, IN; sister, Judy (Greg) Gerlach of Lexington, KY; Brenda’s son, Matthew Griswold of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; parents-in-law Jerry and Rosemary Paulus of Versailles, OH; beloved grandchildren Madisyn, Trey, and Reagan McCoy; a special step-grandson, Owen Griswold; special brothers and sisters-in-law David (Maria) Paulus of Houston, TX; Dan (Sue) Paulus of Minster, OH; Bob (Jenni) Paulus of Versailles, OH; Ann (Greg) Forbes of Grand Rapids, MI; Andy (Lisa) Paulus of Versailles, OH; Diane (Chris) Heeter of Dayton, OH; Susan (Mark) Clack of Versailles, OH, and numerous truly beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins, and a special uncle, Bob McCoy.
A celebration of Ken’s life will take place on Friday, January 19, at Memorial Hall, 215 West 4th Street, Greenville, OH. Visitation will take place from 10-1 at Memorial Hall with the service immediately following. Burial will follow in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Greenville, Ohio, with the United States Army Honor Guard conducting a graveside military service. Arrangements are under the direction of Zechar Bailey Funeral Home, Greenville, Ohio.
Memorial gifts in Ken’s name may be made to either TBDBITL Alumni Club of the Ohio State University Marching Band or St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greenville. Condolence for the family may be sent through www.zecharbailey.com
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