The Ottumwa Courier


September 9, 2013

Ronald Prill

FAIRFIELD — Ronald Louis Prill, 81, of Fairfield, died peacefully in his sleep Sept. 9, 2013, at Jefferson County Health Center.

Ron Prill was born April 15, 1932, in Fairfield, the son of Orville and Elvira Rudi Prill. After her death, Ron’s father married Mary Barnes Gunerson. Ron Prill married Betty Lou Bipes on Dec. 18, 1955, in Ottumwa. She died Oct. 12, 2001.

Mr. Prill graduated from Fairfield High School in 1950. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Parsons College in 1954 and a Master of Arts degree in music education from State University of Iowa in 1962.

In 1948, Mr. Prill joined the Iowa Army National Guard, 34th Army Band, as enlisted trombonist. He was named the director and company commander of the 34th Army Band in 1972, a post he held for 20 years. He retired from the Iowa Army National Guard in 1992 after 44 years of service. He received many awards, including the Legion of Merit.

As a member and later commander of the 34th Army Band, Mr. Prill played a large role in performing summer band concerts in Central Park. When the 34th Army Band could no longer play concerts in the park, Mr. Prill organized the Fairfield Municipal Band in 1987 so summer concerts could continue. Mr. Prill directed the municipal band for a few years; however, even after he stepped down as director, he continued to play with the band until June of this year. In all, Mr. Prill brought music to the community for more than 50 summers.

On July 30, 2013, Fairfield City Mayor Ed Malloy dedicated the bandstand in Central Park to Mr. Prill for his years of dedication to the city of Fairfield. After receiving this award, Mr. Prill directed the municipal band in a march for the last time.

After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree, Mr. Prill taught vocal and instrumental music from 1954-56 at New Sharon Independent School District in New Sharon. In 1956, he accepted a position as elementary music teacher for Fairfield Independent Schools. He was later named music teacher at the new Fairfield Junior High School (now Pence Elementary). When his mentor Dillon Lowell retired in 1972, Ron accepted the position of band director at Fairfield High School, a position he held until his retirement from teaching in 1992.

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