Boyd McKeown

September 25, 1924 ~ April 8, 2018 (age 93)


Well-known Marietta Band Director, Boyd McKeown, passed away on April 8, 2018, after sharing 93 years of his joy for living with his family, friends, students and admirers.


Boyd was born on September 25, 1924, in Abilene, Texas, the son of Boyd M. and Coralie McKeown, but the family soon moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where

Boyd grew up and his mom taught him to play piano. When Boyd entered high school, he learned to play trombone in the band, a skill that he would carry throughout his life.


During WWII, Mr. McKeown played his trombone in the 589th US Army Air Corps Band in Southern France, where he performed with Bob Hope, to entertain the troops. During this time he also performed for General Dwight D. Eisenhower.


After the war, Boyd used his GI Bill funds to obtain a music degree from Peabody College of Music in Nashville. He went on to become the band director at Emma Samson High School, in Alabama, then Cartersville High School, and finally Marietta High School, where he led their band to 14 consecutive years of Superior Ratings.


After his Marietta High service, Mr. McKeown served as the Coordinator of Instrumental Music in the Cobb Co. Schools for 12 years. Following his retirement from public schools, Mr. McKeown served as Executive Director of the Georgia Music Educators Association for 9 years.


Mr. McKeown was a Charter member of the Phi Beta Mu Georgia Bandmaster Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Music Educators Association


True to his love of playing trombone, Mr. McKeown was a Charter Member of his beloved Cobb New Horizons Band and was recognized at many performances as their oldest performing member. In 2016, Boyd guest conducted a selection with the Marietta High School Band and a selection with the Cobb New Horizons Band, as Marietta dedicated their new Band Room in honor of him.


Mr. McKeown was active in the United Unitarian Church of Atlanta, where he served on several of his church’s committees, including Pastor Search, Memorial Garden, and Relocation. In addition, Boyd was also active in community affairs, having served as treasurer of the Cobb County Arts Council, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Youth Orchestra and the Marietta Symphony. He also served a term as Vice President of the Marietta Optimist Club.


Preceding Boyd in death were his parents Boyd M. and Coralie McKeown and his first wife, Edna Outlaw McKeown.

Those left with unforgettable memories of Boyd are his wife Sybil Parr of Marietta; daughter, Kelly Waits (Russell) of Decatur, granddaughter, Camilla Waits; step daughters, Lori Brackett (Billy), Karen Carper (Todd), ; step grandchildren, Ansley Sand( Matt), Will Brackett, Justin McNeal and Kristen McNeal; step great grand children, Quinley and Taelyn Sand and  Boyd’s sister, Anne Smalley, of Knoxville, TN, along with several nieces and nephews.

Memorial Service to be held Sunday April 15, 5 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, 1911 Cliff Valley Way, Atlanta.  

Sunday May 13. 4:30 PM -  Memorial Musical concert at the Marietta Performing Arts Center where the Band Room was named for him last April. A reception will follow (place to be announced).

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to: Children’s Tumor Foundation ( in honor of Boyd.





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