Ernest Milmore Stires II
CORNWALL — Ernest Milmore Stires II, 82, died unexpectedly on Sunday, May 4, with his wife was at his side. He was born on Dec. 17, 1925, in Alexandria, Va., to a musical family.
His grandmother was Metropolitan Opera mezzosoprano Louise Homer and his grandfather, American art song composer Sydney Homer, and composer Samuel Barber was his cousin.
He graduated from Episcopal High School in Virginia, going on to study at Harvard and Dartmouth before graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. He was trained as a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II, going on to a business career as a television advertising executive, first for NBC in California, then CBS in Boston.
He began improvising jazz on piano at the age of four, but it wasn’t until 1962 that he left the business world to devote his time to music. He studied composition with composers Nicolas Slonimsky and Francis Judd Cooke. Since moving to Vermont in 1967, he has been an integral part of the Vermont music community.
He took administrative positions with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in its early years to keep the state orchestra going, as well as with the famed Bennington Composers Conference. He was a founding member of the Consortium of Vermont Composers.
But he also volunteered his services to many community music organizations. He mentored young musicians, particularly pop and jazz, never charging for his time, teaching them the basics of theory and composition, as well as introducing them to the great composers.
Vermont musicians Trey Anastasio, formerly of the band Phish, and Jamie Masefield of the Jazz Mandolin Project are among his longtime students.
Anastasio premiered Stires’ “Chat Rooms,” an electric guitar concerto written for the rock musician, with the Vermont Youth Orchestra under Troy Peters in 2001, earning both composer and soloist national television recognition.
More recently, Peters and the VYO premiered his Violin Concerto, with Ruotao Mao, first violinist of the Amabile Quartet, as soloist, in 2004 at New York’s Carnegie Hall. His jazz-based classical music has been performed throughout the United States and abroad.
In Vermont, it has been performed by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Philharmonic, UVM Orchestra, Vermont Opera Theater, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, pianists Michael Arnowitt and Diana Fanning, organist Emory Fanning and cellist Dieuke Davydov, among many.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Judith; a son, Ernest Stires III, and a daughter Sarah Stires Whittig, both of Denver; a daughter Elizabeth Stires of Fairfax, Calif.; numerous grandchildren; his brother, Sydney Stires of Bayhead, N.J.; and his sister, Louise Curtis of Lexington, Mass.
A memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.
CLERMONT, Fla. — Renia Partridge of Clermont, Fla., 84, died on May 6, 2008. She was born on Jan. 31, 1924, in Fall River, Mass.
She served several years as town clerk and treasurer in Bristol. She was an active member of St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Bristol Historical Society and Bristol Outlook Club.
She is survived by her children, Diane Holcomb of Winter Garden, Fla., and Cindy and Richie Cote of Clermont, Fla.; four granddaughters; and three great grandchildren.
She was predeceased by here husband, Richard.
A memorial service is being planned for this summer in Bristol.
Edna N. Allen
CHARLOTTE HALL, N.C. — Edna N. Allen, 71, of Charlotte Hall, Md., died on May 6, 2008, at her residence. She was born on Feb. 22, 1937, in Clarendon, N.C., the daughter of John H. and Lula Long Norris.
She was a bank teller. She resided in North Carolina for 14 years. She was a member of Hughesville Baptist Church, Women’s Ministry and Bible Study. Her enjoyments were gardening, landscaping, sewing, and traveling.
Her husband, Raymond Burton Allen Jr., was a native of Middlebury. After he retired from the U.S. Air Force they traveled and lived around the world.
She is survived by her husband; and siblings, Levonia Starnes of Wilmington, N.C., James Norris of Clarendon, N.C., and Martha Chaplin of Colorado Springs, Colo.
The service was held on Friday, May 9, 2008, at Hughesville Baptist Church in Hughesville, Md., with the Rev. Keith Corrick officiating. Interment was May 12 at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Tabor City, NC.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hughesville Baptist Church, 8505 Leonardtown Rd., Hughesville, MD.