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Fort Hays State loses longtime music professor to cancer

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 7:14 PM CST
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - Fort Hays State University lost a longtime music professor a week ago due to cancer.

Dr. Jeff Jordan was the Director of Bands at the university for nearly 20 years. He died at the age of 63 from a rare form of leukemia.

Jordan’s former colleagues, students and his wife talked about the impact he had on them.

“It still came as, a bit of a shock because, it felt like someone that was just going to be there - forever,” said Nathan Northrop, a former trumpet player under Jeff Jordan.

Dr. Jordan resigned from his position at Fort Hays State last May, a role he held for 19 years.

“As someone who is desiring to be a future music educator. I think, probably, the biggest thing he did for me is he showed exactly how you should care for every student,” said FHSU music graduate, Gavin Blehm.

Brad Dawson, assistant professor of music at FHSU, said his favorite memory came from a faculty Christmas party where three faculty members, including he and Jordan, dressed up as students.

“I’m not exaggerating, it was like 10, 15, maybe more minutes than that, of just solid laughter. These students. They just couldn’t believe that we had crashed the party,” Dawson recalls.

Dr. Jordan composed a fanfare in 2015 titled, “Salute,” for a former colleague who passed away. That same song will be played at the end of his funeral on Jan. 15.

“It’s powerful. Because he loved to end concerts with high, fast, loud, take no prisoners,” said his wife, JoAnn Jordan.

Dawson has asked former students and band directors to come to play in the service.

“The response has been overwhelming. We’re doubling, tripling parts. Former students, there is even one former student that’s flying in from New York City,” Dawson said.

“Not only do I get to pay tribute to Dr. Jordan as an incredible person, but I get to pay tribute,” said Blehm.

Dr. Jordan’s funeral will be held on Saturday, January 15 at 11 a.m. at the Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Fort Hays State University.

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