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Frank Sidorfsky

Frank Sidorfsky Frank Mendenhall Sidorfsky died on March 24, 2020 at age 89.

He was born on July 15, 1930 in El Dorado, Kansas, near Oil Hill, to Frank Sidorfsky and Ethel Mendenhall Sidorfsky. His father was an engineer for City Service Oil Co., and his mother had taught first grade.

When Frank was almost 8, the family moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where Frank’s father was promoted. Bartlesville’s school music program was renowned throughout the Midwest, and Frank played first chair clarinet in the bands and orchestras from 4th grade through high school, from which he graduated in 1948. He chose Emporia State because of the clarinet teacher Leopold Liegl. Upon graduation with a BME in 1952, he served four years in the Navy. Much of his time, he played in a Navy band on the Mediterranean Sea, and was able to visit Italy, Spain, France, and Andorra where he thoroughly enjoyed dipping into their sights and cultures. Frank received his MM and DMA degrees at Eastman School of Music. He taught in the Flint, Michigan public schools for three years as a woodwind specialist, and then at James Madison University at Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was at Madison that Frank and Dona met, and the attraction to each other was immediate. They married in 1965, and moved to Kansas, where Frank began teaching in K-State’s Music Department, teaching woodwind instruments, primarily clarinet. He taught there for 34 years, retiring in 1999. He shared his passion for playing the clarinet and basset horn by performing numerous solo and chamber music recitals, including soloing with the orchestra, playing in Kansas Firmus, a woodwind quartet, Collegium Musicum, an early music ensemble, and a woodwind quintet.
Frank was a member of the International Clarinet Association, attending and performing at their conventions. During Frank’s career he performed in the Pierre Monteaux Conducting Camp in Maine, the Pensacola (Fla) Symphony, the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Rochester Philharmonic, and the Flint Symphony. He also gave solo performances nationally in fifteen states, and internationally in Victoria, Canada, Vienna, Prague, and Tokyo (for the International Clarinet Association).

For over 51 years, Frank played first chair clarinet in the Manhattan City Municipal Band. When a stroke in 2013 made that no longer possible, he gladly played a lower chair. He continued to practice daily until Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of that ability. He spent his last year and three months in Collins House at Meadowlark, where he received incredibly loving and excellent care, for which Dona and family are eternally grateful. Even there, he continued to play “Happy Birthday”.

Frank and Dona’s marriage of 54 1/2 years was truly blessed, and the bond between these soulmates is eternal. He was a dear, gentle soul who dearly loved Dona and all the family, including several dogs and many cats. We all miss him dearly, but are so grateful for the many precious memories.

Frank’s church, First Congregational, where he sang in the choir for about 52 years, and played numerous solos, was vital to him. The family is so grateful for the many acts of love and kindness his church’s members have shown to him and Dona.

Frank is survived by his wife, Dona, and their sons, Tim (Michelle) and Chris (Emily), and by granddaughter Soren, grandson Theo, and granddaughter Natasha.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Ethel Sidorfsky, and his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Alma and Chuck Woodson, and his brother-in-law, Ronald Woodson. His sister, Joyce Sidorfsky, an oboist, died in September, 2020.

Contributions may be sent to: KSU Foundation, 1800 Kimball Ave., Ste 200, Manhattan, KS 66502, please indicate fund M47366. To make a gift online, go to www.ksufoundation.org/give/memorials; or to the First Congregational Church in Frank’s name.

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