Music 03
Official Obituary of

Donald "Guy" Blair

December 1, 1946 ~ March 29, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Donald "Guy" Blair Obituary

Donald Francis “Guy” Blair, Jr. was born December 1, 1946, to Donald F. and Marjorie A. (Height) Blair in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He loved growing up on the family farm and being an older brother to his three younger siblings- Neil, Kelly, and Jane. 


Guy met Jane Sandell his sophomore year of high school on the Ferris wheel of the Dayton Rodeo. On June 16, 1969, they were united in marriage in Burnside, Iowa, and to this union they were blessed with two daughters: Brenna and Lindsy.

Guy was a proud graduate of the close-knit Dayton High School class of 1965. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music at Central College with the class of 1969, where he became lifelong friends with his Theta fraternity brothers as well as many music colleagues. After college he was the director of bands for North Polk for four years before becoming director of bands at Pella Community High School. For the next 32 years he served as director of bands at Pella Community High School, where he found great joy and success in partnering with his band colleagues to help students reach their full potential and accomplish feats greater than themselves. Under his leadership, Pella Community Schools won the Exemplary Music Program Award for the state of Iowa. Guy’s marching bands represented Pella in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C.; the Citrus Bowl Parade in Orlando, Florida; the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California; and several other national stages. 

Guy’s impact in the music education arena transcends well beyond the community of Pella. At the state level, he frequently served as a guest clinician and judge and was active in several organizations. While president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, he organized the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE), which continues to serve Iowa arts programs. Guy also served as the president of the Iowa Music Educators Association and as the organization’s first executive director. He helped write the model curriculum for instrumental music for the Iowa Department of Education. Guy received the Karl King Award for active directors in 1991 and for retired directors in 2008 from the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Music Educators Association. On the national level, Guy was a consultant for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards on benchmark portfolios for teachers working toward National Board Certification.  In 2010, Guy was selected as the recipient of the National Music Educator of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Even in retirement, Guy stayed very active in the world of music education. He loved continuing the relationships he had built through serving as a travel consultant for Bob Rogers Travel and as a mentor for beginning band directors in Iowa. 

The value of music education was incredibly important to him, surpassed only by his faith and family. In reminiscing about marriage he wrote, “Jane is the wisest person I’ve known. I trust her opinion about everything from raising our children to decisions on finances to how we live our lives. I really married up…I’ve learned to be more thoughtful, to be kinder to others, to be more spiritual, to be more industrious, and to be more caring.” He was a proud dad to his daughters and rarely missed a concert or a game in which they were involved. He was always there with a listening ear and great advice. His impact in their lives is undeniable and they never questioned his love for them. Guy had a special bond with his grandkids. He loved spending time with and FaceTiming the Hyatt girls; playing checkers, airplanes, and piano were among his favorite activities with the Brandt foursome; and Family Lake Week was the highlight of every summer.  Guy cherished hosting extended family gatherings where he was an adored uncle. Guy was a longtime, dedicated member of Peace Lutheran Church in Pella where he played the keyboard and was involved with many small groups throughout the years. 

Guy passed away March 29, 2024 after a brief battle with an aggressive cancer, but his legacy of love and the power of music will live on for generations to come. 

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife Jane, and their family. . . 

Brenna and Rob Hyatt

       Chloe, Calla

Lindsy and Josiah Brandt

       Matthias, Bekah, Ethan, Elsie

He is also survived by his siblings and siblings-in-law: Neil Blair of Kansas City, Missouri; Kelly and Becky Blair of Harcourt, Iowa; Jane and Brad Boswell of Pella, Iowa; Gene and Janet Sandell of Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Don and Joan Sandell of Burnside, Iowa; his aunt Marvel Gerk of Mankato, Minnesota; and twelve nephews/nieces. 

Guy was preceded in death by his parents Donald and Marjorie Blair, and his parents-in-law Wesley and Wilma Sandell.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Peace Prayer Garden or the Iowa Bandmasters Association Endowment Fund. 

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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April 5, 2024

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
First Church
603 Broadway Street
Pella, IA 50219

April 5, 2024

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
First Church
603 Broadway Street
Pella, IA 50219

April 6, 2024

10:30 AM
First Church
603 Broadway Street
Pella, IA 50219

Please note
The Memorial Service will be Livestreamed on the First Church YouTube page. The link will be available at 10:30 am, Saturday, April 6.


Peace Prayer Garden
c/o Peace Lutheran Church, Pella IA

Iowa Bandmasters Association Endowment Fund


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