George Washington Beebe

George Washington Beebe
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George W Beebe was born 5 August 1870 in Iowa Falls, Iowa, to Hiram Robert and Mary (Wunderlin) Beebe. He was the fourth of five children: Hiram Robert, Willis Allen, Mary Olive, George Washington, and Ida Luella Beebe.

George taught himself to play the cornet and clarinet and at age 17, took over the leadership of the 15-piece Iowa Falls town band. He held this position for 47 years. He continued to play with the band well past his 81st birthday. Many times, he directed the band in the town Pagoda, a picturesque bandstand built in 1898 in Central Park. He continued Directing concerts in the new band shell that replaced the pagoda in 1931.

In May 1898 George married Marie Cummings. She died in 1904. They had one son, Paul, born ca. 1900.

By 1909, George's musical talent was well known in the area, and he played in a circuit in Webster City, Hubbard, and other local towns.  He even helped to organize and train bands in those areas.

He opened a musical instrument store in Iowa Falls in 1925. He taught many children music lessons through the years. As the popularity of the Military Band faded in the 1920's, George organized and trained a "Kid Band". This was the beginning of the public school band in the local area. In 1927 instrumental music was begun in the public school under his direction and in 1928 he organized the first school band.

George's son, Paul, also played clarinet and saxophone in the Iowa Falls bands. Paul went on to become a part of the Detroit Theater bands. In 1960, George re-located in Ohio. George's grandson joined the Navy.

George W Beebe died on 26 September 1962 at Sheffield Lake, Ohio. He was almost 92 years old.

By Brenda Beebe Wieland
Callaway, MN