Jim Gemmell

Date of Birth

October 16, 1931

Date of Death

October 30, 2012

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Our Dear Friend – 10/16/1931 – 10/30/2012

Jim Gemmell passed peacefully at 11:20 pm on October 30, 2012 after a five-year courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. His beloved wife, Jeanne, was at his side. She would like to give heartfelt thanks to Dr. Jason Boyatt , the nurses at Cottage MICU and Dr. Henry Han for their wonderful care.

Jim was an inspiration and mentor to thousands of students while teaching for San Marcos High School’s Performing Arts Department from 1967 to 1991. During his dedicated SMHS career as an instrumental music and vocal teacher and Department Chair, he shaped the Orchestra, Concert, Marching and Jazz Bands, and created the all men and all women singing groups, The Royal Knights and Enchante. He passionately launched the annual Broadway musicals and influenced the tradition of the Marquettes as a high-kicking dance team. The Marching Band and Marquettes, the “Glittering Pride of SMHS” opened and closed the 1975 and 1976 Disneyland Bicentennial “America on Parade”.

Prior to SMHS, Jim taught at Paso Robles High School and at Montana’s Anaconda Central. After retirement, for nine years, he and Jeanne taught skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho. Prior to his college education and teaching career, Jim served in the Army as an Infantry Lieutenant from 1951 to 1953 at Camp Roberts.

Outdoors and in nature was where Jim felt completely at home. He and Jeanne, throughout an adventurous forty-seven year marriage, explored every corner of the United States and traveled the world.

Jim inspired the joy of music, arts and the freedom of nature in his three sons. He is survived by Jim and Vicky, Dan, Tony and Donna and grandchildren Aleta and Matthew.

In 1971 Jim stated “All of man’s art is intended to be shared and I share best through teaching.” He will be missed by family, friends and former students, but everyone is happy to have had their lives enriched by him.

So-long to our dear friend. We know you are coaching those angels into “Heaven Hop” shape. “Singsation” – a Musical Celebration of Jim Gemmell’s legacy of music, song, theatre and dance will be on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at SMHS. For information, contact: j2gemmell@aol.com and Lddduncan@aol.com


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