A Peaceful Last Exit for Beloved WVWC Music Professor
Caroline Louise Dees, who shared her wit, distinctive laugh, beautiful lyric soprano voice, and joy of music with generations of students at West Virginia Wesleyan College, died in her sleep August 24, 2021. She was 77.
For nearly 40 years, Ms. Dees was a student-centered professor who held the affection and respect of her colleagues and students. In 1972, she helped to found the Zeta Eta chapter of the female music sorority Sigma Alpha Iota, serving as its faculty advisor. She later became a national SAI officer as province president for West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Zeta Eta chapter is thriving today because of her effort. She also established the WVWC Women’s Glee Club, serving as its director from 1969-1975.
Ms. Dees retired in 2006 from WVWC as Associate Professor of Music, but she also had served as the college’s Music Librarian from 1995-2006. For many years after retirement, she kept a studio in her home for private vocal students. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Dees arrived at WVWC from the University of Kentucky with a newly-earned Master of Music in vocal performance and minor in drama. She proceeded to “bloom where she was planted,” becoming active in community theatre and choral groups such as the Buckhannon Community Theatre, the Larry Parsons Chorale, the West Virginia Symphony Chorus, Camerata Appalachia and the Buckhannon Choral Society, where she was director from 2000-2009. She also sang in Buckhannon’s First United Methodist Church choir.
She is survived by her sister, Terri Dees Matthews, of Mayfield, Kentucky; sister-in-law, Joyce Wood Dees, of Dothan, Alabama; six nieces; eight great nieces; five great nephews; and a growing number of great-great nieces and nephews.
She will be interred at the Dees family crypt in Westview Abbey Cemetery, Atlanta. A celebration of life memorial service in Buckhannon is being planned in late fall for all those who loved her.