KSU music professor dies at 83

Katie Fickle

The death of a former Kent State music professor came as a shock when he died Thursday, despite his 10-year battle with kidney cancer.

Paul James Wallace, 83, was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, however, he continued to stay active in the School of Music, said school director Denise Seachrist.

“He was a genuinely nice person who was loved and respected by many people,” Seachrist said. “He came to performances and was very concerned about the welfare of the School of Music. He didn’t just retire and forget about everything.”

Wallace came to Kent State in 1963. He taught trombone and euphonium and later became associate director of the School of Music. Wallace retired from the university in 1985. He continued to support the music department by volunteering as treasurer of the School of Music’s Orchestra Society Board, which is made up of members who are interested in promoting the orchestra. He also donated several trombones to the school.


new TWTR.Widget({

 version: 2,

 type: ‘search’,

 search: ‘#KWWallace’,

 interval: 6000,

 subject: ”,

 width: 240,

 height: 300,

 theme: {

   shell: {

     background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

     color: ‘#66a9c5’


   tweets: {

     background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

     color: ‘#444444’,

     links: ‘#1985b5’



 features: {

   scrollbar: true,

   loop: true,

   live: true,

   hashtags: true,

   timestamp: true,

   avatars: true,

   toptweets: true,

   behavior: ‘default’



Chas Baker, director of jazz studies, was Wallace’s student and knew him for nearly 45 years. Baker said Wallace was a gentle man and enjoyable to have as a professor.

“He was a fair-minded, even-tempered and decent man,” Baker said. “If he was going to get you to be a better player he did it by example.”

Wallace’s death came as a shock to Seachrist and Baker as well as other faculty members in the school because many of them spoke with him just weeks ago.

Baker said Wallace left him several records on Oct. 12, and with the records was a note that said he was proud of him and his accomplishments.

Seachrist said she admires Wallace for the person he was.

“He is an example for all of us to try to live our lives that way,” Seachrist said. “He really cared about his students, his colleagues, his family and the Kent community.”

Contact Katie Fickle at [email protected].