Gary Ray Wishmeyer, age 76, passed away in the comfort of his home in Indianapolis on Feb. 26, 2017, from cancer.
He was born on Feb. 13, 1941, to Raymond A. Wishmeyer and Velma M. Woollis on their family’s horse farm in Corydon, Iowa.
Over the course of his 50-plus year teaching career, Gary was an award-winning band director who inspired, motivated and directed thousands of high school and collegiate-level musicians in Iowa, New Jersey and Indiana.
During this time, “Wish” as he was affectionately called, earned almost every honor available to an Indiana music educator: he was recipient of the Indiana Outstanding Bandmaster Award, inducted into the Indiana Bandmaster’s Hall of Fame, president of Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA), educational coordinator of the Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA) and named to the Who’s Who Among American Teacher and Music Education honoree list 20 times.
Mr. Wishmeyer was well known as being the award-winning band director of the Ben Davis High School Marching Giants from 1979 to 2003. During his tenure, Wish was a seven-time Class A State Champion, five-time Bands of America national finalist including, national runner-up and the 1983 National Open Division champion. His other distinctions include having marched his band in three Tournament of Roses Parades and the inaugural parade for President Reagan in 1985.
Gary judged in over 20 states for Drum Corps International (DCI), Winter Guard International (WGI) and the Central States Judging Association plus numerous ISSMA events in Indiana. He was in great demand as a clinician and guest conductor around the state of Indiana and the Midwest for both concert and marching bands alike.
More recently, Mr. Wishmeyer served as the supervisor of Music Education Student Teachers for the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington.
Gary is survived by his beautiful wife, Pam; his daughter, Shayla (Chris) Jacobs, his son, Dustin; and aunt, Bonnie Clark (Iowa).
A celebration of Wish’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Main Gym of Ben Davis High School. All are welcome to attend and share in this public celebration to honor Gary’s legacy as an educator who had a powerful impact on everyone that he touched.
In lieu of flowers, Gary’s family has established a memorial scholarship in his name to support a Ben Davis High School senior whom is pursuing a degree in music.
As a friend, student, or colleague of Gary’s, you are invited to make a memorial online donation in his honor through garywishmeyer.com.