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Dennis Joel Zeisler (Nu Rho) 1946-2020

Dennis Joel Zeisler died surrounded by his family in his home on March 30th, 2020 in Norfolk, VA due to Pancreatic Cancer. He was 73.

Dennis was recently retired from Old Dominion University, where he served for 39 years as Director of Bands, Professor of clarinet and saxophone, and Chair of the Department of Music. Early in his musical career, he distinguished himself as solo clarinetist of the famed Michigan Symphony Band under William D. Revelli. He was solo clarinetist with the Detroit Concert Band under the direction of Leonard B. Smith, and a clarinet soloist with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. He was founder and conductor of the Virginia Wind Symphony, a professional ensemble comprised primarily of music educators from throughout the area of Southeastern Virginia. Dennis worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the Midwest Clinic. His dedication and vision served as a model for all.

Dennis Zeisler was the 77th President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. Among his many honors, the Orpheus Award from Phi Mu Alpha for “significant and lasting contributions to the cause of music in America” and the Distinguished Service to Music Medal from Kappa Kappa Psi provide a fitting tribute to a man who will leave a profound and unforgettable mark upon the world of music.

Dennis is survived by his spouse of 33 years, Carol (Corcoran) Zeisler and their two children; Sarah (Adam) Wisiniewski of Norfolk, VA; and Jeffery Zeisler of Washington D.C. He is also survived by his first wife, Kathleen (Perrin) Betts of South Boardman, Michigan and their two children; Nathaniel (Cristen) Zeisler of Los Angeles, CA; and Jennifer Zeisler of Los Angeles, CA; his sister Janice (Paul) Zucker of Falls Church, VA, three grandchildren, Brooke, Perrin and Aubree; twelve nieces and nephews; his step-mother Charlotte (Wert) Zeisler of Canandaigua, NY; and his mother-in-law, Alexandra (Kisla) Corcoran of Arlington Heights, IL. He is preceded in death by his mother Frances (Fleischman) Zeisler and father Kasriel Zeisler.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings funeral services will not be held. Instead, we will celebrate Dennis at the first Virginia Wind Symphony concert in the fall when we will toast to him and celebrate his dedication to music, teaching and family.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Dennis J. Zeisler scholarship fund to provide financial support for instrumental music majors at Old Dominion University. . To give, simply click the link below, select “scholarships” and type “Dennis Zeisler” in the scholarship name box.

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