Nunc dimittis

May 31, 2019

Robert Edward Coleberd, 86, died on December 5, 2018. Born July 6, 1932, in Kansas City, Missouri, he graduated from William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri, with a degree in economics. He then served in the United States Army during the Korean War. After his discharge he earned an MBA degree at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. A few years later he enrolled at University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, where he received MA and PhD degrees in economics.

Coleberd began his years of college teaching at Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Virginia, and then at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), Westminster, Maryland. He also worked a few years for the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. While there he attended Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, where he met his future wife, Barbara.

He returned to college teaching at Longwood College, Farmville, Virginia. After six years during which he was promoted to department head and earned tenure, he decided to leave academia and moved to Houston, Texas, to work in the petroleum industry.

In 1979 he moved to California to work for Tosco (The Oil Shale Corporation). Four years later, he and a colleague formed a partnership to start their own business, Pacific West Oil Data. This company prepared and published a monthly data book of tables and graphs of statistics and other information on the West Coast petroleum industry. He sold the business and retired in 2000.

Throughout his life Coleberd was interested in pipe organs, sparked by his brother’s becoming a church organist at the age of 12. He visited many factories of organbuilders both in the United States and on trips to Europe. For several years he was an economic consultant to the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America (APOBA). He also served on the board of directors of the Reuter Organ Company, Lawrence, Kansas. He wrote articles about the history of various organbuilders, mainly in the Midwest, and published many of them in The Diapason and The Tracker. He built two organs himself, one of which he kept in his home in Granada Hills for many years. Recently, with the help of Manuel Rosales, he donated his organ to St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, California.

Coleberd enjoyed woodworking and had a workshop at home, where he had projects including bottle stoppers, bowls, and trays. He was a member of the Glendale Woodturners Guild. Recently he became interested in making kaleidoscopes. He joined the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society and made kaleidoscopes with wooden barrels. He wrote articles for the quarterly newsletter of the Brewster Society and attended their conventions.

Robert E. Coleberd is survived by his wife of 47 years, Barbara; his sister-in-law Linda Coleberd of Hannibal, Missouri; his brother-in-law Stuart Kennedy of Edgerton, Wisconsin; and many nieces and nephews.

Some of Robert Coleberd’s bibliography in The Diapason:

Trophy Builders and their Instruments: A Chapter in the Economics of Pipe Organ Building, August 1996

Is the Pipe Organ A Stepchild in Academe?, March 1997

The Economics of Pipe Organ Building: It’s Time to Tell the Story, January 1999

August Gern and the Origins of the Pitman Action, June 2000

Three Kimball Pipe Organs in Missouri, September 2000

Stevens of Marietta: A Forgotten Builder in a Bygone Era, June 2002

“A Perfect Day,” February 2004

The Mortuary Pipe Organ, July 2004

Organist and Organbuilder, Jerome Meachen and Charles McManis: A Meeting of the Minds, June 2005

Stanley Wyatt Williams, 1881–1971, June 2006

Steuart Goodwin: Organbuilder, April 2007

The Masonic Lodge Pipe Organ: Another neglected chapter in the history of pipe organ building in America, August 2008


Brett Austin Terry, 31, died February 27 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Born June 6, 1987, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, he received his early education in piano, organ, and voice at the First Methodist Church, Bartlesville, then at Grace Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri, and Southminster Presbyterian Church, Prairieville, Kansas.

Terry earned Bachelor of Music degrees in organ and in voice at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, where he graduated summa cum laude, studying organ with John Ditto. His 2013 Master of Music degree in organ was from Yale School of Music, where he was a student of Thomas Murray. He also earned the Certificate in Church Music at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where he became interim director of chapel music at Yale Divinity School. Terry subsequently became director of music and organist at Scarsdale Congregational Church in Scarsdale, New York. In 2015, he was appointed minister of music and worship at Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg. In 2016, he also became artistic director and conductor of the Central Pennsylvania Oratorio Singers and Orchestra.

Terry had worked in the greater New York City area as a vocal coach, choral conductor, arranger, harpsichordist, cellist, and singer. He directed a 24-voice professional choir and several concert series and worked collaboratively in opera, ballet, and musical theater. Terry was active in the American Guild of Organists and was dean of the Harrisburg Chapter at the time of his death. He was also active in the American Choral Directors Association. In addition to his organ studies, his voice teachers included Marilyn Horne and Renée Fleming. He sang the title role of Massenet’s Werther in a Parisian production several years ago.

Brett Austin Terry is survived by his mother and her husband, his father and his wife, a paternal grandmother, a maternal grandmother, two sisters, and nieces and nephews. His funeral service was held at the Adams Boulevard Church of Christ, Bartlesville, on March 8. A memorial service took place on March 23 at the Pine Street Church in Harrisburg. Memorial contributions may be made to the Music at Pine Street concert series at Pine Street Presbyterian Church, 310 North 3rd St., Harrisburg, PA 17101.