University of Alabama's 'Father of Music Education' Dies at 98

By Coker, Angel | The Tuscaloosa News, April 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

University of Alabama's 'Father of Music Education' Dies at 98


Coker, Angel, The Tuscaloosa News


To the public, Edward Cleino will be remembered as the "father of music education at the University of Alabama," but to his family and friends, he will be remembered as a kind, inspiring man who lived his life by Christian principles.

Cleino, former chairman of the music education department at the University of Alabama's College of Education, died Saturday at Hospice of West Alabama. He was 98 years old.

While Cleino is known primarily for his musical influence at the university, his daughter, Barbie Cleino, said she will remember his musical influence from her childhood.

"I never remember a time without music in our household, from singing our prayers to playing instruments and singing in the choir," she said. "We went to concerts like some families go to movies."

Cleino's children said music played a major role in their father's life at home, at work and in the community.

His love of music began at an early age. Cleino was born in Rolla, Mo., on Jan. 29, 1917, and studied music in high school and college, until he received his doctorate in education with an emphasis in music from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn.

He is recognized as an established timpani performer.

Cleino served a stint in the Army Air Corps during World War II flying B-29 bombers.

He met and married his wife, Bettie Anne, in Nashville, and they had five children.

Cleino taught music in primary and secondary schools for many years before assuming the chairmanship of music education at UA in 1949, serving in that role until 1979.

Some of his former students include Steve Simpson, assistant director of UA's Million Dollar Band, and John Hinton, minister of music at Northport Baptist Church.

"He was an excellent teacher, but he was also a friend to his students. He would go the extra mile," Hinton said Saturday.

Hinton said Cleino developed the area of music education in the state of Alabama more than anyone else. …

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