Saturday, August 13, 2016

Doster Robert "Doc" De Haven - Class of 1949

 MADISON  - Blow, Gabriel Blow. Beloved father, musician, and teacher, Doster Robert "Doc" De Haven Jr. [age  85], passed to heaven on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. His rendition of "Basin Street Blues" accompanied him and his loving family on his final procession at Agrace HospiceCare in the early morning hours.  Doc was the first child of Edith Viola (Heath) and Doster Robert "Doc" De Haven Sr., born on June 20, 1931, in Madison, Wis. He attended Central High School, and graduated from the UW-Madison in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. He served as a first sergeant in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1953 in the 512th Air Force Band in Oklahoma. In August of 1955, Doc met the love of his life, Shirley "Lea" (Wesenberg). Their marriage of 60 years began only a few months after their first date.  Doc's passions were music and family, and he excelled at both. His career in music spanned more than four decades, beginning with the creation of the Doc De Haven Combo in 1955. Performing Dixieland and Jazz standards Doc and his band consistently filled venues with their great music and adoring jazz fans at the Pirate Ship, the Union South and Memorial Union of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Edgewater and Concourse Hotels, country clubs near and far, and countless Midwest area jazz festivals. They produced multiple albums, and played for generations of weddings and receptions. Doc actively participated in the Madison area music scene by performing with other musicians and mentoring up-and-coming artists. He created the Doc De Haven Booking Agency that Lea managed as secretary, accountant, and president. He was a member of the Madison Municipal City Band and the Madison Jazz Society. He was honored in 1990 as the Isthmus Jazz Personality of the Year, named in 2001 by Madison Magazine as one of the Legends of Madison, and given a lifetime achievement in 2014 by MAMA (the Madison Area Music Awards).  Doc extended his legacy as a music educator. Doc taught music and band at Monona Grove High School for 32 years. His mentorship continued beyond high school as he taught private lessons for students entering state and national competitions many years after he retired from the academic world. He inspired new generations to love and pursue music in their lives.  To continue to support new talent, in 1981 Doc worked with the Erle Smith family to establish the Erle Smith-Doc De Haven Music Clinic Scholarship Fund to support middle school and high school students attending this long-standing summer music camp at the UW-Madison, and to honor his dear friend and band mate, Erle Smith. In 2011, Doc and Lea established the 'Doc and Lea De Haven Music Excellence Award' at the UW-Madison School of Music, to support undergraduate music performance majors, with preference given to those studying trumpet and/or jazz.  The passion Doc had for music was matched only by the love and joy he shared with his family. Doc loved his wife and children, adored his grandchildren and cherished his great-grandchildren. He fostered, mentored and inspired his children, nephews and grandchildren to create bands of their own from The Third Generation to A Touch of Class. Daughter Kelly and son-in-law David (Cooper) developed successful careers in the music industry, and grandson John De Haven is pursuing his own music career. Doc eagerly gave his grandchildren and great-grandchildren piano lessons, and cheered on all of their interests and activities. Doc was the last one to go to bed and the first one to rise, waking his kids each morning with a song and demonstrating his "latest jig" (which annoyed them to no end). They also remember his favorite quote on their family trips across country in a station wagon - a few minutes into each destination stop; "OK, the bus is leaving" … Forever on the go, he would remind us that, "The Old Double D was the Coolest of the Cool." There was never a dull moment. Doc and Lea created a home filled with love, music, and mayhem.  Doc is survived by his wife; children, Brad (Julie), Kelly (David Cooper), Burt, Darcy (Rich Beld), Stacy (Rich Darrow), Nina (Jeff Gaby); grandchildren, Amber Ostrom, John De Haven, Spencer De Haven, Jacob De Haven, Kiley De Haven, Connor De Haven, Mattie De Haven, Skye Cooper, Austin Gaby, Zachary (Alyssa) Wallace, Justin Wallace, Rainey (Justin) Oliver, Bryan Wallace; great-grandchildren, Azure Shaw, Sienna Shaw, Jhett Jordan, Rylee Wallace, Madison Wallace, Missy Oliver; sisters, Joyce Pickarts and Ardith (John) Thomas; brother-in-law, Ken Wesenberg; sister-in-law, Joyce (Dale) Boness; Donna Lavick-Wesenberg; and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Stephen Craig Wallace from a previous marriage; brothers-in-law, Ray (Joyce) Pickarts and Gary (Jean) Smith; sisters-in-law Jean Smith, and Jan (Ken) Wesenberg; daughter-in-law, Norma De Haven; and nephews, Tony Wesenberg and Eric Thomas.  Visitation will be held at GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH, 5701 Raymond Road, Madison, Wis., from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, with a musical service immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family would be honored to have your support of a donation to The Doc and Lea De Haven Music Excellence Award, through the UW Foundation, Fund No. 12617236; the Erle Smith-Doc De Haven Music Clinic Scholarship, Fund No. 1262798; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; or to Agrace HospiceCare, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, Wis.

Doc De Haven's class year is based on information in thr 1949 Tychoberahn yearbook, where he is pictured among the graduating seniors.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on August 13, 2017. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

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