Eugene Dreyer died rather suddenly on November 5, 2003. For many years he had suffered from relentless neurological degeneration caused by Lewy Body disease or something like it, a double-whammy of Parkinsonian symptoms and dementia. Nevertheless, despite his wife Luba's death in June, he seemed to mostly enjoy life until just a few days before the end when his sickness (pneumonia? stroke? heart disease? all of the above?) became acute. Also right to the end, his eyes kept their high-intensity twinkle and he could always crack a joke at the right moment.
When he was healthy, he spent much of his time working, which was indistinguishable from playing, both literally and figuratively. He became the major classical music contractor in the Washington area, working at the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery Orchestra and numerous others. He also played violin in most of the groups he hired, and did much of this while holding down a full-time job as deputy chief of the music branch of the Voice Of America.
Gene was born in Brooklyn NY on February 26, 1921. He has a BSS from City College of New York and an MA from Columbia University. He also studied music at Juilliard, from "Papa" Heifetz and others.
A child of the depression, he rarely spent a dime on himself but he was always generous with his family. He could start up a conversation with anyone, and could disarm his mark with a combination of kindness and wit. After intense weeks of programming music at the Voice of America, hiring musicians and playing music professionally, he would often relax by filling the house with chamber music.
He is buried at
King David Memorial Garden
7400 Lee Highway, Falls Church VA
Please send contributions in Gene's name to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St., NW, Washington DC 20566.Jon Dreyer