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Dr. William Francis McBeth
(March 9, 1933 - January 6, 2012)

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Dr. William Francis McBeth

William Francis McBeth passed away on Jan. 6, 2012. He was born March 9, 1933 in Ropesville, Tx. to Dr. J.P. and Lillie May Mc Beth. He is survived by, wife Mary, sister Laura Fay Thaxton, brother Harold McBeth, daughter Laura Murphy and her husband Todd, son Matthew McBeth and his wife Susan and three grandchildren Kate, Joe and Carolyn. McBeth attended Hardin-Simmons University and played in the Cowboy Band in Abilene, Texas where he was presented the Presley Award for outstanding bandsman at Hardin-Simmons . He served in the military from 1954 to 1956 with the 101st Airborne Band and 98th Army Band. His works led to many appearances as a guest conductor, where he often conducted premiere performances of some of his compositions. The majority of his works were published by Southern Music Company of San Antonio, Texas. His conducting activities have taken him to forty-nine states, three Canadian provinces, Japan, and Australia. His "Double Pyramid Balance System" is a widely used pedagogical tool in the concert band world.

McBeth attended University of Texas and Eastman School of Music. In 1963 he was presented the Howard Hanson Composition Award. He was named the Arkansas State Composer Laureate and conducted the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra from 1970 to 1973. He taught music theory and composition at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas for 39 years from 1957 until his retirement in 1996 as Professor Emeritus and distinguished University Professor. He was a member of Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi, Kappa Mu Alpha, Tri-M Honorary Music Society, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and president of American Bandmasters Association. He received the John Philip Sousa Foundations Sudler Medal of Honor in 1999 and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s American Man of Music in 1988.

Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, AR, Tuesday January 10th at 2:00pm. Memorials may be sent to Ouachita Baptist University. Sign on line guest book at


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