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Published: Saturday, 8/4/2007

Teacher of music led junior youth orchestra

Susan K. Wiseman, 55, of Toledo, a music teacher and former conductor of the Toledo Junior Youth Orchestra, died Sunday in St. Joseph Hospital, Bellingham, Wash., from complications of cancer.

Her death, while she was on vacation, followed a 10-year battle with the disease, her husband, William Wiseman, said.

Born Susan Gibson, she showed talent as a young girl in many different musical pursuits while growing up in Toledo.

She went on to study music during school, mastering the french horn, vocal performance, and piano, and continued to follow her passion for music throughout her life.

She was a really an unbelievable person who continually worked to improve her techniques and upgrade her skills, Bernard Sanchez, former chairman of the University of Toledo music department, said.

She would come back to take refresher courses, which is why she was such a remarkable conductor and teacher.

Mrs. Wiseman taught music at DeVilbiss High School and DeVeaux Junior High School, and also was the band director at DeVilbiss until it closed. She then became conductor of the junior youth orchestra in Toledo until she retired in 2003.

She was a member of the Ohio Music Education Association, and she sang with the choir at Monroe Street United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Wiseman was devoted to both her music and her family, though the two did not necessarily mix all the time.

Although she did insist that both of her sons learn to play an instrument, the house was not always filled with music.

She was with music all day, every day, Mr. Wiseman said. When she came home, she didn t really want to hear it.

But she did make sure that her younger son, Michael, stuck with the piano, at least until sixth grade. The 12-year-old said he now wonders how he can go on playing without mom there to correct all my mistakes.

When she took a break from reading sheet music over her son s shoulder, she was still heavily involved in her family, and especially her children.

Though her older son, Jay, is now 28, Mrs. Wiseman devoted a lot of effort into Michael s school. In recent years, she served as both vice president and then president of the Shoreland Parent Club and helped out with the school book fair.

Mr. Wiseman said that for his wife, family always came first.

She used to play a lot of volleyball in college and when I coached, she was my JV coach, he said. But when our kids came along, she said that was it. She said her kids needed her more than she would ever be needed on the volleyball court.

Mrs. Wiseman was a 1969 graduate of Whitmer High School and a 1972 graduate of Indiana University. She received a master s degree in music from Ball State University in 1974.

Surviving are her husband, William; sons, Jay and Michael, and three grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 4 p.m. today in the Ansberg-West Funeral Home. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Monroe Street United Methodist Church.



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