Memorial for beloved SFA professor, folk singer to be held in Austin

Updated: Apr. 12, 2017 at 5:56 PM CDT
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Stanley Alexander (on guitar) was the last living member of the East Texas String Ensemble....
Stanley Alexander (on guitar) was the last living member of the East Texas String Ensemble. (Source: KTRE Staff)

AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - A memorial for a beloved longtime Stephen F. Austin State University professor who loved spending time with his family and folk music will be held in Austin at from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 13.

Dr. Stanley Gerald Alexander, 88, of Austin, died his home on March 29. The obituary that appeared in "The Austin American Statesman" on April 12 said his death came after a "lifelong aversion to mortality."

The memorial service for Alexander will be held at Threadgill's, which is located at 6416 North Lamar in Austin.

Alexander is survived by his wife, Nancy, son, Alex and his wife Brigid, daughter Emily and husband John Henry, and two grandchildren, Maura and Bonner. He was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, according to "The Austin American Statesman" article.

"Born Nov. 24, 1928, to a farming family in Roscoe, Texas, Stan developed a love of hillbilly music listening to his parents 78s of Milton Brown, Wiley Walker, and Jimmie Rodgers, and practiced his singing riding a tractor plowing cotton fields," the obituary stated. "His love of reading and learning were fostered by rare rainy days and parents who helped him become the first in his family to attend college."

Stanley served as an Army medic in Germany during the Korean War. After he came home to the United States, he earned a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin, the obituary stated.

"He probably spent less time studying than at Schlotz's Beer Garden or at Kenneth Treadgill's bar north of town, where he and other folk music lovers jammed over beers to see whose version of Blue Yodel #1 was the most faithful to Jimmie Rodgers', the obituary stated. Stan's soulful country blues belting often took the prize, but Janis Joplin's (another Threadgill's regular) was quite good, as well."

Alexander married Betty Jean Immel in 1956, the obituary stated. He took his first teaching position at North Texas State College in Denton in 1962, where he also started a folk music club. According to the obituary, Alexander joined SFA's faculty in 1968, and he taught there until he retired.
In 1977, Alexander married Nancy Jim Wilmeth. He and his wife restored an early 20th century home in Chireno before they moved back into town, the obituary stated.

"He loved spending time at the family ranch in Central Texas and spent many summers working alongside son Alex farming, ranching, and playing music," the obituary stated. "After retirement, Stan enjoyed frequent trips to the farm and loved teaching his grandkids to fish and hunt for arrowheads."

He and other country music loving professors at SFA formed the East Texas String Ensemble. The other members of the band included Francis "Ab" Abernathy, Charles Gardner, and Tom Nall. Alexander played the guitar, according to the obituary.

The obituary stated that Alexander was active in local Nacogdoches politics, and he led civil rights marches and demonstrations alongside his good friend Arthur Weaver, a local activist.

"Stan often lent his time and money to causes he felt would help make his community and country better ones," the obituary stated.

To read the full obituary, click here.

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