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Tramel Rex Wilson

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Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 1:49 pm

Dr. Tramel Rex Wilson, better know to most in Alpine, Texas, as simply Rex, died Feb. 17, 2019 at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Texas.

Rex was born on June 18, 1939 in San Angelo, Texas, the only son of William Tramel and Pearl Wilson. He attended school at San Angelo Lakeview, where he excelled at music and sports. A sports writer for the local newspaper described him in 1958 as “a kid who practiced basketball shots at a goal in a tree for hours at a time, but still managed to squeeze in piano lessons—who knew the physical punishment of football and the peaceful beauty of a church organ.”

Rex earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Hardin Simmons University, a MMEd from the University of Colorado, and a PhD in musicology from the University of North Texas. He did research at the British Museum, the Royal College of Music in London, England, and Stiftsbibliothek in Einsedeln, Switzerland. Next to the birth of his only son Brian Tate, he held his scholarly musical endeavors as the best experience of his life, though his career path ultimately took him down roads of teaching and service.

Prior to coming to Alpine, he was director of choral activities in the San Angelo and Denton, Texas public schools, where he was recognized for his outstanding work with junior high and high school choirs.

In 1976 he accepted the position of assistant professor of music at Sul Ross State University, and moved to Alpine with his wife Eleanor and son Brian. Over a span of 29 years, he taught not only a wide range of music courses in the Fine Arts Department, but also secondary curriculum and instruction in the Education Department and country and square dancing in the Physical Education Department. Rex got around.  

Under his direction, audiences came to anticipate the best choral music concerts in the region, always enlivened by his animated directing style. A favorite with students, he was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991. Always he served up his teaching and guidance of students with a mixture of high expectations, encouragement, and humor.

As an accomplished tenor and pianist, he conducted and performed in numerous concerts and productions at Sul Ross. He conducted both the Big Bend Chamber Orchestra and the Big Bend Community Choir. Perhaps most memorable was his role as Lt. Pinkerton in the university’s production of Madame Butterfly.

In the Alpine community, Rex was a familiar face and voice, serving as vocalist/accompanist at countless weddings, parties, funerals, and graduations. His final musical contribution to the community was his position as organist for the First Methodist Church. It was said, if you stayed around after services were concluded, you just might hear him add a slight jazz rift to the closing bars of the familiar old hymn with which he closed that service.

Asked if he thought he had been successful, he usually replied that he had done with his life the only thing he could - to know who he was and do what he could with that knowledge. His success in that simple goal enriched the lives of all who knew him.

His greatest setback was the loss of his son, Brian, a blow from which he never fully recovered. A passage read at Brian’s memorial service 28 years ago seems an appropriate farewell to his dad as well - “We will erase neither his voice nor his form from our memories. We will hear him in echoed laughter outside our windows, or catch a fleeting glimpse of him disappearing into the shadows of a summer evening. And if the price of loving him greatly is measured out in pain, we pay gladly. If he has more to teach us, we must take the risk. He has brought one miracle into our lives. We will look for another.”

Buck golfers take invitational

Junior Victoria Lancaster takes a long shot from the fairway at Alpine Country Club on March 12. The Lady Bucks won their home town invitational on Tuesday defeating teams from Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, Marfa and Sierra Blanca. 

Updated: 8:57 am | See more