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Oklahoma Misc. Obits

© Grace Memorial Chapel
Submitted by: Janet Laubhan Flickinger


Thank You For Your Service!

Bobby Lee Westmoreland

Bobby Lee Westmoreland
Sept. 7, 1926 - Nov. 17, 2014

Bob Westmoreland, a lifelong resident of Ponca City, died Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, at Ponca City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was 88.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, at Grace Memorial Chapel with the Rev. Larry B. Metzger, pastor of Ponca City First Christian Church presiding.

Bob was born Sept. 7, 1926, in Ponca City, the son of Benjamin H. Westmoreland and Velma Reed Ball Westmoreland. He was a 1944 graduate of Ponca City High School and attended Oklahoma AM for a short time. He served in the United States Navy during World War II and was honorably discharge on July 6, 1946. Bob was married to Wanda Jean Stevenson on May 25, 1962, in Ponca City.

Bob was a man of two major careers during his lifetime, music and photography. Both of these careers had an influence on Ponca Citys history. His musical career started with a mistaken instrument. When he was 9 years old, his father told him to pick out an instrument he wanted to play and he would buy it for him.

Bob saw a trumpet player at a school program and decided on the spot he would play the trumpet. Not really knowing the name of the instrument he told his father he wanted to play the clarinet. His father bought him a clarinet. When Bob told his father that was not the instrument he wanted to play. His dad said I bought this and you are going to play it.And play it he did, for many years and in a number of locations, from the both the east and west coasts.

When he wasnt old enough to drive, someone would drop him off at Ponca Citys Club Lido where he played clarinet with a grown up band. Musical training in the Ponca City Public Schools and Oklahoma State University led to his being accepted in 1945 as the youngest member of the Meet Your Navy orchestra at Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago.

At Great Lakes, Bob was exposed to some of the best musical talents of that era. A number of the string players were from the Chicago Symphony and wind instrument players from the name bands of the time. One of his first playing assignments was with a group whose drummer, Moe Purtill, entered the Navy from the Glenn Miller band. Other musicians came from the Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Les Brown bands.

At the end of World War II, Bob moved directly into the professional music world. He joined a group from Great Lakes and they played major entertainment centers in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Reno and Las Vegas. During this time Bob worked with big name performers including George Goebel, Liberace, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin and others.

He returned to his hometown of Ponca City in 1954 and moved into two new spheres of activity music teaching and professional photography. For more than 20 years Bobs students were the outstanding woodwind players in the music program of Ponca City Schools. Photography had been a childhood interest along with music and this background was put to good use handling commercial photography for Photo Supply Company.

Musical performance was not forgotten, as Bob joined the Herb Jimmerson Orchestra for many years was the outstanding musical group working in North Central Oklahoma and Southern Kansas. In addition to playing flute, clarinet, alto sax and tenor sax, Westmoreland scored the entire music library used by the regional orchestra.

The Herb Jimmerson group, which was well known in this area, also appeared on a weekly show over Channel 5 television which was in Enid at that time. For 17 consecutive years the band played for the Ponca City Country Club New Years Eve Dance. The last band Bob played with not too many years ago was the Blue Notes.

In 1961, Bob became associated with Continental Oil and as a result he was exposed to a wide variety of process camera and industrial types of photography. His combined field of music, photography and teaching resulted in his being selected by the Ponca City Board of Education to inaugurate a complete audiovisual program for Ponca City Schools in 1968. This included a closed circuit TV studio broadcasting via cable. He designed Studio SEE and produced more than 2,000 television programs in the facility and featured Pete Long in a weekly program.

His Book Television Production Shortcuts, was published by the OU Press in 1974 and used as a textbook across the United States and Europe. In 1975 Westmoreland, with Truman Smith, produced and directed Bride of the Morning Star,a Bicentennial TV production of Kay County history as told by Native Americans. This was produced under an Oklahoma Commission grant and released by the University of Oklahoma Cinema Department.

A grant from the National Endowment for The Humanities gave Bob the opportunity to assemble an audiovisual of Ponca City. In 1975 he was awarded The Master of Photography Degree by the Professional Photographers of America. In that same era, Bob did a photography book of the interior of the Marland Mansion.

He is survived by his wife, Wanda, of the home two sons, Don Westmoreland, of California and Jeffrey Stevenson, of Washington State and one granddaughter, Noelle Stevenson. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memorial contributions may be made to Ponca City Art Association, 819 East Central, Ponca City, OK 74601 or to the charity of choice

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