William (Bill) Ray Medley
William (Bill) Ray Medley died on July 21, 2018, at his home at Butterfield Trail Village in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was the last surviving child of 13 and was born to James Samuel and Linnie Pearl Dodson Medley in Lubbock, Texas, on Nov. 20, 1926. He graduated from Lubbock High School and served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. In 1946, he married Patty Grace Duncan of Springfield (Conway County), Ark.
They together attended Arkansas Polytechnic College, now Arkansas Tech University, and then graduated from the University of Tulsa with both bachelor's and master's degrees in music. They formed a two-piano team that was popular in the United States and Canada and played more than 1,000 concerts in 47 states and seven Canadian provinces for community concerts and civic concerts from New York City, and appeared as soloists with numerous orchestras. They traveled to four cities in Australia to conduct clinics for music teachers featuring his compositions.
In addition to the concert activity, they taught at Arkansas Tech, where they are listed in the "Hall of Distinction"; Parsons College, Fairfield, Iowa; and Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When they retired from college teaching in 1992, they returned to Fayetteville, where they had previously resided from 1958 to 1963. In 1981, Hal Leonard Publishing Co. issued their piano method, "The Medley Way," which was popular with piano teachers, and is still utilized by many today. In addition, he authored many compositions of sheet music which also are still available.
Bill is survived by his wife, Pat; and one son, Michael Duncan Medley of Washington state. He was preceded in death by his mother and father; 12 siblings; and one son, Matthew Dodson Medley (Michael's twin), in 1982.
Also surviving are many nephews, nieces, great-nephews, great-nieces, great-great-nephews and -nieces and a large number of students.
Bill and Pat celebrated their 72nd anniversary on July 12. Although married for 72 years, their love began two years before their marriage. Their motto was "Trust in Love," and their deep and abiding love for each other was obvious even in his last days. They each said the words "I love you" to each other many times throughout the day.
Bill was a member of First United Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, and served as elder and deacon for First United Presbyterian Church of Cedar Rapids. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha, Music Fraternity, an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity, and was chosen Arkansas Music Teacher of the Year along with his wife in 2006. In 2012, they were awarded as Fellows in Music by Music Teachers National Association. The couple and their career are the subject of a doctoral dissertation, "The Legacy of Duo-pianists, Bill and Pat Medley," written by a former student, Dr. William P. Whipple III. This book is available online.
Bill contributed time working for Community Emergency Outreach and delivering Meals on Wheels for several years, and was a library volunteer for the Fayetteville Public Library.
Bill taught many piano students. Some of these are now attending and/or teaching in outstanding music schools in the United States. His love for these students, and his ability and interest in introducing them to the world's best music, is his greatest accomplishment. His hope was that through them, this legacy will live on. Some also will remember "Hymns of Praise," a compact disc recording that Bill made in 2002. It is a collection of original arrangements for piano of well-known hymns. This proved to be very popular both in the United States and Canada.
Memorial services will be held at First United Presbyterian Church and will be announced at a later time. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the "Matthew Medley Memorial Scholarship Fund" at Mount Mercy University, 1330 Elmhurst Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, or any organization of the donor's choice.
Condolences at www.beardsfuneralchapel.com.