August 29. 1927 — March 9. 2016
Director Emeritus of the Fighting Texas Aggie Band, Colonel Joe T. Haney, passed from this earth into life eternal on March 9, 2016. He was born to Clyde Theodore and Vista Mae Mahan Haney in Colorado City, Texas on August 19, 1927, and was destined to become a musician. His paternal grandfather organized and played in community bands in Clyde and Baird, Texas; his father and aunt sang duets on the radio; and his mother was a piano teacher. When Joe was two, his father died a tragic death in a pipeline explosion. Needing a more lucrative job to raise her adored only child Vista Mae moved from West Texas to Marlin where she became a bookkeeper, taught Sunday school, and also wrote children’s plays for the Presbyterian nursery school. She gave him piano lessons, but the call of the neighborhood boys to play football and tennis was his preference. His love for sports was developed in high school where he won the district and regional championships in tennis and was punter and kicker on the football team. His love for sports existed his entire life and as an adult golf, hunting and fishing became his avocation.
At the age of ten, Joe began private trombone lessons from the school band director, Carl Cochran. From the moment he picked up the trombone, his mother never again had to goad him to practice. After one year of private lessons be was selected for the Marlin High School Band. Fortunately in his school days he was not forced to choose between football and band. His band director recognized his talent for music and realized Joe might have made a wrong choice had he been given one.
In 1944, as a sixteen year old graduate of Marlin High School, Joe entered Texas A&M and the Texas Aggie Band, knowing that the minute he became eighteen he would be drafted, as was the fate of every physically and mentally fit young man during World War II. After basic training he was sent to radio operators school in Fort Monmuth , New Jersey. From there he was shipped to Inchon, Korea. On a weekend pass to Seoul he went to the Red Cross building where he had been told he could get a hot shower and hear the Army Band. At intermission he went back stage to find the officer in charge and luckily was given an audition on the spot. The music to his ears that night was that the trombonist was being transferred and that a jeep would be waiting for him with transfer orders on Monday morning at 6:00 A.M. For the next fourteen months he played in the 282nd AGF Band and received instructions in theory and composition from its director. This was where he received his call to use his God given talent to pursue music as a profession. Since Texas A&M did not have a music school, when he was discharged, he applied to SMU and in 1950 graduated with a B.A. degree in Music and received his Master’s in Music in1954 from Sam Houston.
When he graduated from SMU he knew that he was well educated as a performer, but did not want to travel with a band. The situation he was looking for was in Hemphill, the only small town in Texas that had never had a school band and wanted to begin one. When he was offered the job he took it. His organizational skills were honed in this school which had no band hall, no instruments, no music, no uniforms and only a few students who were interested in being in a band. His recruiting tactics included suiting up and working out with the football team and riding his horse down many country lanes to visit with parents of interested students. In the spring of 1951 the Hemphill High School Band composed of fifty-five students, played its first concert and every student was fully equipped including uniforms and a band hall.
In the fall of 1951, Joe moved to Calvert, Texas, where he was well rewarded by a band of conscientious students who earned first division ratings in both concert and sight-reading his second year there. This was the year that a friend from Calvert, who lived in Ft. Worth, introduced him to a TCU coed from Lufkin, Mary Logan. They were married in the summer of ’53 and lived in Calvert until 1955 when he was hired as junior high school band director in the Wharton School System.
As fate would have it, The Mexia High School band job became available, and having competed in the same UIL district during his Marlin High School years, he knew that this had been a very good “band town” though the band had slipped from its former glory. When Superintendent Alton Bowen offered the position to Joe he accepted, and once again he inherited a building job. The Black Cat Band earned two first divisions at the UIL contest in the spring of ’57 and won its first Sweepstakes the following year. Joe and Mary had many opportunities to move to larger cities but the band had once again become the “pride and joy” of the school and community and they loved the living there.
A new and exciting adventure began in 1972, when Lt. Col. E. V. Adams invited Joe to become the Associate Director of the Texas Aggie Band. With the assurance that he would become the director the following year when Col. Adams retired, they moved to Aggieland. This move offered the challenge not with building a band program, but with maintaining the deep-seated traditions and still integrate new music and new marching innovations. Several years later an administrator at Texas A&M who had once been in the Aggie Band wrote: “We were fearful that a suitable replacement could not be found when Col. Adams retired. To the delight of the A&M Student body, parents of students, alumni, and football fans in general, the Aggie Band has not only prospered under Col. Haney’s leadership, but has indeed enhanced its public image almost beyond belief.”
Sensing the need of the many musically talented Aggies who did not wish to be in the Corps of Cadets, Col. Haney organized the Texas A & M University Symphonic Band in 1973 and reorganized the Aggieland Orchestra, which he had played in as a “fish”.
During the sixteen years under Col. Haney’s direction the Aggie Band performed at all home football games and most out of town games, eight bowl games, all home basketball games, marched in the inaugural parade of President George H.W. Bush, and performed at the inaugural ceremonies of several Texas Governors.
His professional memberships include TBA, TMEA. Phi Beta Mu, and ASCAP.
He is listed in the 4th edition of ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. He has composed many musical publications including “Noble Men of Kyle.” His arrangement of “The Spirit of Aggieland” has been performed by the Aggie Band at all football games since 1968. He was given the BMI Music in Sports award in 1986, a lifetime membership in The National Association of Military Marching Bands in 1988, was honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Staff Administration in 1989. After his retirement he was presented “The Sudler Trophy honoring the close relationship and outstanding contributions of Intercollegiate Marching Bands to the American way of life”, by the John Philip Sousa Foundation, 2001. A ceremony unveiled a permanent plaque on the Aggie Band Drill Field, which officially named it the Joe T. Haney Drill Field. In November 2014, The 12th Man Kick Off Team named him and Dr. Koldus Legends at a scholarship banquet in their honor.
Joe was a lifelong Presbyterian serving as a deacon in Calvert, a deacon and elder in both Mexia and First Presbyterian Church in Bryan, where his Memorial service will be held on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 2:00 P.M. A private burial will precede the service in the College Station City Cemetery. Visitation will be at Hillier Funeral Home of Bryan on Sunday, March 13, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.
To be revered by students and colleagues is the greatest accomplishment of any teacher, and Joe was blessed to still have contact with many students dating from the early 1950s through 1989. From the first day he met his students, he let them know what he expected of them and only their best was good enough. He has been rewarded through the years with many letters from former students, both High School and TAMU, who have thanked him for the self-discipline, direction, and goal-setting principals he taught them and a life long love for music.
He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary, two cousins, Sue Kirkpatrick and her husband Donovan of College Station, Dr. Edward Scheiblich of Columbia, S.C.; one niece, Laurie Logan Hudson, her husband Ken of Sachse, Tx. ; three great nieces, Jessica Hemann, Elizabeth Hemann, and Lisa Hemann; one nephew, Stephen Logan and wife Donna of Carrollton, Texas, and their son, Sean and wife Kyra Logan, and daughter Melissa and her husband Robert O’Neil; plus two great grandnephews & one great grandniece.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to Hospice Brazos Valley, 502 W. 26th St., Bryan, 77803; Still Creek Ranch, 6055 Hearne Road, Bryan 77808; or your favorite charity.
Our heartfelt thanks go to the staff and it’s around the clock care which he has received at the memory care unit of The Waterford at College Station and also to Hospice Brazos Valley’s nurses Marti, Pam, Sam, Hannah, Suzie, Sarah, and Sandra.
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