Nunc dimittis

August 14, 2015

Nunc Dimittis

Henry L. “Hank” Hokans, 84, of Ogunquit, Maine, died June 2. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, he received early musical training from his parents and studied organ with T. Charles Lee and William Self, whom he succeeded as organist at All Saints Church, Worcester, serving for 20 years. Hokans received bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the New England Conservatory and was inducted into Phi Kappa Lambda Honor Society. He was appointed organist of the Worcester Art Museum, director of music at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and chairman of the fine arts department of Worcester Academy. After serving with the 5th Air Force in the Korean War, Hokans received a Fulbright Scholarship to study for a year in Paris with Pierre Cochereau and Jean Langlais. 

Hokans served in residencies, was accompanist for many choral groups, founded and directed the Worcester Concert Choir, and played recitals in abbeys and cathedrals both in England and on the Continent. He accompanied the American choir, Canterbury Singers, USA, in England for the VE Day 50th Anniversary Commemorative Service at York Minster Cathedral in 1995.  

In 1989 he accepted a position at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. He served as organist/choirmaster at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Frederiksted, St. Croix, as musical director of St. Ann’s, Kennebunkport, and since 2001, as music director of St. Peter’s-by-the-Sea, Cape Neddick, Maine. He also worked in organ design, building, and maintenance with several organ builders, and operated his own organ service company, H. L. Hokans Associates.

Henry L. Hokans is survived by his wife of 25 years, Louise (George) Hokans of Ogunquit; daughter Rebecca Hokans Nanof; son Richard W. Hokans; two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and sister-in-law Ruth W. Hokans.


Robert L. “Bob” Milliman, 89, died March 1 in Des Moines, Iowa. Born in Des Moines on January 29, 1926, he graduated from East High School and was then drafted into the U.S. Army. He served during World War II in the Pacific from 1944–46. In 1947 he married Twylla Kurschinski at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines. In 1964 the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Milliman worked for AT&T until his retirement in 1982. They then returned to Des Moines, where he tuned and repaired pipe organs. Milliman was a life member of the Beaverdale V.F.W. Post 9127, Urbandale, American Legion #663, and the Telephone Pioneers. Robert L. Milliman is survived by his wife of 67 years, Twylla, daughters Norma (Robert) Rees and Polly Milliman, six grandchildren, one great grandchild, and brothers, William (Barbara) Milliman and Paul (Kate).


Robert Lawson Van Doren, 99, died May 18 in Columbia, South Carolina. Born in Roselle Park, New Jersey, on March 8, 1916, he became organist at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Roselle Park at age 15. He attended Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music, where he met his future wife, Lib, who was in the same graduate program. They married in 1943, sharing their passion for music for more than 59 years. After receiving a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Columbia University and Juilliard, he taught in the public schools of Roselle Park before joining the Army during World War II. In 1950 he received the degree of Fellow, Trinity College of Music, London, England. Van Doren became an instructor in music and music education at the University of South Carolina, where he rose in rank to full professor and retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1978.

From 1945 until 1970 he served as organist and choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church (now Cathedral) and organized and directed the citywide Junior Choir Festival for 25 years. In the 1950s, he was helped organize the Sewanee Conference on Church Music in Sewanee, Tennessee, and taught there for many summers. Van Doren served as president of the Columbia Music Festival Association, dean of the Columbia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, president of the South Carolina Music Educators Association, and vice president of the Southern Division of the Music Educators National Conference. In 1988 he was elected to the Hall of Fame of the South Carolina Music Educators. He was a member of other clubs, including the “Friends of Music,” University of South Carolina School of Music.  

Robert Lawson Van Doren is survived by a son and a daughter, three grandchildren, and three great-granddaughters. 


Donald Stuart Wright, 74, died June 4. Born on December 26, 1940, he was most recently organist and choirmaster at St. Christopher Episcopal Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and for nearly a decade before that was at St. Richard of Chichester Episcopal Church in Chicago. Throughout his life, he served mainly Episcopal and Lutheran parishes. A graduate of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, his organ teachers included Thomas Matthews, Austin C. Lovelace, and Flor Peeters. He was active for many years as a recitalist, largely in the Chicago metropolitan area. Don was married for 42 years to his wife, Lisa Curran Wright. He would always be recognized by his Hercule Poirot-like mustache and his dapper attire. Don was also proud of his 1930 V-16 cylinder Cadillac and his “yacht” (the family’s pontoon boat kept at their Wisconsin cottage). His popular piece, A Gigue for the Tuba Stop, published by World Library, was written for his son, Michael Slane Stuart. Donald Stuart Wright is survived by his wife Lisa, children Katherine, Thomas, Nicholas, Alexandra, Veronica Solis, Nathaniel, and Michael, as well as four grandchildren and one sister.