Karl Killinger Obituary

Karl H. Killinger
Karl Killinger
Karl H. Killinger

November 15, 1924 - November 10, 2008
Born in Fort Dodge, IA
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Karl Henry Killinger, 83, passed from this life on Monday, November 10, 2008 at his home in Des Moines. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 14, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines where he was a member. Interment with military honors will follow at the Masonic Cemetery in Des Moines.

Karl was born the son of Henry and Opal Ommen Killinger on November 15, 1924 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He married Evelyn Johnson on October 30, 1944 in Ogden, Iowa and to this union, four children were born: Dennis, Kerry, Karla and David. Karl was a veteran of World War II, serving with the United States Navy until he was honorably discharged.

He is survived and lovingly remembered by his wife of 64 years, Evelyn Killinger of Des Moines; four children, Dennis Killinger and his wife Rose of Tampa, FL, Kerry Killinger and his wife Linda of Seattle, WA, Karla Killinger and her husband Scott Blacketer also of Des Moines and David Killinger and his wife Marina also of Tampa; sister, Wanda Darlington and her loving companion Bobby Barnhardt of Sarasota, FL; sister-in-law, Kathryn Killinger and her loving companion Jim Wooldridge of Nokomis, FL; ten grandchildren, Bryan, Brad (Kathy), Laura (Adam), Robert (Christine), Andrew, Katharine, Matthew, Kristina, Megan (Nick) and Michael; and five great-grandchildren. Karl was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Keith Killinger.

Karl Killinger was a music conductor and teacher who was involved in music from an early age. At 6 years old, he was guest cornet soloist for the Iowa Bandmasters Convention. He performed his first of many live radio broadcasts while still in 3rd grade. He won state solo awards on trombone, baritone, and tenor sax, and then became a national champion on baritone. He studied music under Mr. Vandercook at the Vandercook School of Music in Chicago. He started a band unit at midshipmen school in Davenport and became an officer on a navy LST-969 ship during World War II. Karl graduated from Drake University in 1947with a Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music Education in 1963. Along with his brother Keith and sister Wanda, the Killingers provided dance bands and show bands for state fairs and circuses all around the United States and Canada.

Karl retired from music education in 1986 after serving for 39 years as band director at Dowling, Mingo, North, and Lincoln high schools. He had been a member of the Iowa Bandmasters Association since 1942, the American School Band Directors Association since 1961, Phi Delta Kappa, the American Federation of Musicians, the American Legion, the Za Ga Zig Shrine, the Des Moines Consistory, and was a 32nd degree Mason and a Knight Commander Court of Honor.

Groups under Mr. Killinger's direction consistently won superior ratings throughout the years. The North High Band, under Karl's direction, was the first Iowa high school band to perform outside the continental United States when they traveled to Hawaii to participate in the 1972 King Kamehameha Parade. His North High Band was selected by The Presidential Inauguration Committee to represent the state of Iowa in the 1973 Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C.

Karl received the IBA Karl King Memorial Distinguished Service Award in 1987 and received the Des Moines Key to the City in 2002. Karl had performed with the Des Moines Municipal Band since it's origins in the 1940's, and conducted the band from 1976 to 2002. He directed the Shrine Band for 40 years and the Des Moines Consistory Band for 30 years. In 1996, he originated the Iowa Military Veterans Band, the only one of its kind in the nation, and continued to conduct its many concerts until the past year.

Karl was an exceptionally encouraging and knowledgeable music educator that brought out the best in every student and band member. He will be greatly missed by his family, the thousands of students he inspired, and the many musicians he directed.

The family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 13, at Iles Funeral Homes - Westover Chapel in Des Moines, where a Masonic Service will begin at 7 p.m.

The family wants to thank Hospice for their kind help. In lieu of flowers, the family has respectfully requested that any memorial contributions be made to the Iowa Military Veterans Band.


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Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, November 13, 2008
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
- Show more -
Westminster Presbyterian Church
4114 Allison Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50310
Friday, November 14, 2008
10:00 AM
Masonic Cemetery
1550 48th Street
Des Moines, IA 50311
Friday, November 14, 2008


Iowa Military Veterans' Band
4607 Locust Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265