DOUG “FESSOR” FRY
Doug Fry is one of the famous natives of Spicewood, Texas, born there on July 15, 1916. He began his schooling in Burnet, but later moved to Levelland, where he graduated from high school. His first trombone was a Cuesnon, which was purchased for $7.50 without a case. His mother made him a case out of one leg of his old overalls. Instead of buying expensive slide oil, he made his own by mixing half and half of 3 in 1 Machine Oil and kerosene.
Doug enrolled in Abilene Christian University where he played in the band directed by fellow Hall of Fame member, D.W. Crain, Sr. He graduated from A.C.U. in 1940 and was hired as band director at Conroe.
"Fessor" enlisted in the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor and spent 39 months in the south Pacific, part of that time as band officer on Admiral Halsey's staff. After that tour of duty, he was assigned to Glenview Naval Air Station, just out of Chicago. He was the officer in charge of the Department of Welfare and Recreation which produced a weekly, nationwide 30 minute radio program entitled "Navy Sky High". Doug directed the band on these programs.
Doug returned to Conroe for a year and a half before taking a job with the Gretsch Band Instrument Company, traveling Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Missing the baton and bands, he took the band job at Brady in 1947, inheriting a 7 piece high school band. However, it very quickly became an award-winning organization.
In 1953, Abilene Christian University invited their graduate to return as Director of Bands, and for 17 years, "Fessor" directed the "Big Purple", taking them on concert tours in 14 states and Mexico. Over 100 band directors studied with Doug during those years. Doug Fry was the band department at A.C.U. during those seventeen years, teaching all instruments, method classes, marching band, concert band, booking tours, and sweeping out at night!
After his tenure at A.C.U., Doug spent two and one half years working for King Music Company in San Angelo. Then the Superintendent of Schools at Robert E. Lee High School called Doug and coaxed him into taking the band job, where he remained for one year. He then went to Cisco Junior College for 5 years. He took that band to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade two different times. In 1979, he finally retired from active teaching, but soon became Executive Secretary of Region VII, where he and his wife, Mary Frances, run the region music contests. He also retired with 22 years of service from the Navy and Naval Reserve. His daughter, an accomplished flutist, lives in Searcy, Arkansas, and his son lives in Austin.
"Fessor" credits his success with the students who served as section leaders and band officers. He was named Director Emeritus of the A.C.U. Band in 1983. Doug is still active as a clinician throughout Texas, as well as serving as consultant and ranking retiree of the morning coffee group at Caldwell Music Company.