Jack K. Lee, University of Arizona marching band director and composer of the fight song "Bear Down Arizona," died Friday, Dec. 23 of Alzheimer's disease in suburban Phoenix. He was 84.
Lee was born in Akron, Ohio, attended Kent State University and graduated from Ohio State University. He served in the army during World War II before getting his master's degree at Ohio State, where he was employed as assistant band director.
While flying home from a job interview for marching band director at the UA, Lee wrote "Bear Down Arizona." He was offered the position and served from 1952 until 1980 and the fight song was the first march he composed. He went on to write 80 works for marching band, orchestra, choir and concert band. He also conducted the concert and symphonic bands while at the UA.
A funeral service was held at the Bear Down Gymnasium Friday, Dec. 30 and a memorial concert is being planned for the end of February by the UA School of Music.
Gifts in memory of Jack Lee can be made to "UA Foundation Bear Down Endowment." The family established the endowment last fall to meet the most critical needs of UA bands including uniforms, equipment, music, instruments, student support and travel expenses. Gifts may be mailed to the Development Office, PO Box 210004, Tucson, AZ 85721-0004. For more information, call 520-621-9057.