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John Edwin Dirr

August 26, 1929 April 7, 2019
John Edwin Dirr
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Obituary for John Edwin Dirr

JOHN EDWIN DIRR

"EDDIE"

August 26, 1929-April 7, 2019

Middletown, NY



John Edwin "Eddie" Dirr, well-known jazz musician, guitar teacher, and a recipient of the Orange County Arts Council's Lifetime Achievement Award, died April 7, 2019 at Park Manor Rehabilitation's New Horizons Dementia Unit, Middletown, NY. Surrounded by loved ones, he was given the perfect send off as his jazz guitarist grandson played him right into Heaven. He was 89.



A Middletown native, Eddie was born August 26, 1929, the son of Joseph B. and Bronia Kosmider Dirr, and attended Middletown schools. He found his passion early--the guitar--and his boundless enthusiasm for his art sustained him for over 81 years. Blessed with perfect pitch and a precocious ability, Eddie, who began playing gigs at age fourteen, was soon copying the jazz rhythm of Django Reinhardt and the hot licks of Les Paul. With words of encouragement from his idol, Les, Eddie's path was set.



After four years in the United States Navy where he furthered his studies and taught at the Navy School of Music, he formed the Eddie Dirr Quartet and played engagements at Middletown's Mitchell Inn, West Point's Thayer Hotel, and countless gigs in restaurants, clubs, theaters, halls, and private parties throughout Orange and Pike counties. Eddie and his quartet also played Sullivan County's "Catskill Circuit" backing such headliners as Sid Caesar, Totie Fields, and George Gobel. For over ten years, he served as Musical Director of Chester, New York's Bodles Opera House performing every Friday and Saturday night. Always a working artist, Eddie managed this schedule while raising a family, maintaining (and eventually retiring from) his day job at Orange and Rockland Utilities, and donating his time and talents to local causes. His extraordinary "guitaristry" has been recognized and appreciated by the greats, and he counted among his colleagues Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola, Buddy Merrill, and the late Tony Mottola.



But it was in his den where his impact was most felt. For over sixty years, Eddie gave private guitar instruction in his Middletown home. Several hundred music enthusiasts, including his grandson, passed through his back door and benefited from his encyclopedic knowledge of theory and technique. Many of his loyal pupils have gone on to attend renowned music conservatories and entered the profession, and countless former students remained devoted friends.



His pursuits weren't limited to six strings and twenty frets, however. He was also an avid photographer, a student of the German language and esoteric English vocabulary words, and an archivist of both corny and "spicy" jokes he kept in his infamous pocket notebook. He will be forever missed.



Survivors include his daughter, Kathyann "Koo" Dirr Weber and son-in-law, Martin F. Weber, III, as well as his devoted grandson, Ethan C. Weber, all of Middletown. He also is survived by siblings, Kenneth (Florence) Dirr and Rosemarie (Cliff) Burns, dedicated companion, Philomena O'Sullivan, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his wife, Doris Swalm Dirr, and brother, Joseph Dirr and a nephew, Joey Dirr.



Eddie's family would like to thank Jan Davis, Unit Director of The New Horizons Dementia Unit at Park Manor and her caring staff of nurses, certified nursing assistants, and recreation and activities personnel, especially Kaleen Albino who always went above and beyond for Eddie. There are angels among us, and they are on Unit Six.



Visitation and a memorial service will be held Friday, April 12, 2019, 4-7 pm at Applebee McPhillips Funeral Home, 130 Highland Ave., Middletown, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Research Foundation www.alz.org/hudsonvalley or the Residential Council at Park Manor,121 Dunning Road, Middletown NY 10940.

www.applebee-mcphillips.com


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Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

12

Apr

4:00 PM 4/12/2019 4:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 4/12/2019 7:00:00 PM
Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home

130 Highland Ave.
Middletown, NY 10940

Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home
130 Highland Ave. Middletown 10940 NY
United States

Service

Friday

12

Apr

6:45 PM 4/12/2019 6:45:00 PM - 7:00 PM 4/12/2019 7:00:00 PM
Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home

130 Highland Ave.
Middletown, NY 10940

Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home
130 Highland Ave. Middletown 10940 NY
United States

Memorial Contribution

Alzheimers Association

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