Robert Lear Henke

July 28, 1929 ~ July 7, 2019 (age 89)

Robert Henke passed away July 7, 2019, 3 weeks short of his 90th birthday. The son of Arthur and May (Waltz) Henke, he was born in Watertown, WI, but moved to Canton in 1939. Bob began percussion study at age 10, and performed with many of the local military bands, the Canton Youth Symphony and, in his junior year at McKinley High School, joined the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s percussion section. That same year he was a member of the national champion drum and bugle corps sponsored by Canton Post 693, V.F.W. While attending Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, he studied with the timpanist of the Baltimore Symphony and the principal percussionist of the National Symphony Orchestra. He performed on occasion with the Baltimore Symphony and was timpanist with a summer concert band. Following graduation from Peabody, Bob served four years on active duty with the United States Air Force, where he was assigned to the 515th Air Force Band at Bryan, TX, serving as acting director for concerts and radio broadcasts during his last year. Upon discharge in 1955, he returned to Canton to manage the Bobby Shop for Children, a family owned children’s clothing store at Country Fair Shopping Center. Bob was involved in the development of the Canton Ballet and served as treasurer and sound technician. From 1956-1981 he performed as timpanist with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and also served as personnel manager. He received the orchestra’s prestigious Silver Baton Award in 1981. Bob served as general manager of the Greater Akron Music Association, sponsoring body of the Akron Symphony, Youth Symphony and Symphony Chorus. For nearly 30 years, Bob served as general manager and then finance manager for the Tuscarawas Philharmonic, and performed as timpanist for 37 years, many under the baton of his wife, Margery Henke. Bob also performed for 60 years with Canton concert bands. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Organization of Ohio Orchestras and the Citizen’s Advisory Board of National Public Radio station WKSU-FM. He was a founding member of Music from Stan Hywet and served as treasurer for over 20 years. He was timpanist and a choir member at Church of the Savior, UM. Bob was a consummate professional, a true gentleman and a man of integrity. The music community has lost a shining star. In addition to music, Bob loved model trains, which earned him the nickname of “Boxcar Bob”. He enjoyed flying private planes, and waterskiing and fishing for walleye on family vacations to Bob’s Lake, Ontario. Preceded in death by his wife, Margery, and an infant daughter, Lisa Diane, Bob is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law Karen and Cornel Zotta, Kristin Henke, and Trude and Bob Kibbe; grandchildren Anna Zotta, Jared (Rebecca) Kibbe, Ashleigh (Harris) Wilder, Chad Kibbe; great-grandchildren Ruth and Barrett. The family wishes to thank the staff at Laurels of Massillon and Crossroads Hospice, and special aide, Alissa. Memorial service will be held Sunday, July 28, at 3:00 p.m. at Crossroads UMC, 120 Cleveland Ave. SW, Canton with visitation at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Tuscarawas Philharmonic or Crossroads Hospice.

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