Janice E. Wade, 80, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at her home in Waverly from a rare unknown neurological disorder.
Janice was born on May 20, 1937, in Decorah, Iowa, the daughter of Vivian Lois (Caskey) and Lloyd Edward Richards. Janice shared the final thirty-four years of her life with her loving spouse, Lura Works; the couple was officially married on May 23, 2009, in Cedar Falls Iowa.
In 1987, Dr. Wade took a position at Wartburg College where she was Professor of Violin and Viola and Music Director and Conductor of the Wartburg Community Symphony. (WCS). While at Wartburg, Wade served two terms as Chair of the music department, served twice on the Faculty Council and numerous other committees during her 24-year tenure. She is the longest serving conductor in the history of the WCS and the only female to ever hold the position. Wade commissioned and premiered five new works by noted Iowa composer Linda Robbins Coleman in addition to 9 other new commissions and world premieres by other composers. She secured the rights to the “Ford Made in America” project making the WCS the only symphony in Iowa granted rights to perform the state premiere of America the Beautiful, a new work by well-known composer Joan Tower. During her symphony tenure she brought many internationally acclaimed guest artists to perform with the symphony and added 6 professional positions to the orchestra. She took the WCS on two Caribbean cruises aboard the SS Norway where they performed the original musical accompaniment to silent films. Dr. Wade’s distinguished musical history is housed in the National Womens History Archives for future generations. She retired from Wartburg in 2011 as Professor Emerita.
Before joining the Wartburg faculty, she founded and was conductor of the Des Moines Community Orchestra. The orchestra has continued to flourish in its 40 plus years and will always be “her baby” and something she was so proud of. While in Des Moines, Wade was principal second violinist of the Des Moines Symphony, served as editor of the Private Teachers Forum in the national journal of the American String Teachers Association, maintained a large private teaching studio, taught in the Des Moines Public Schools for 10 years and served on the faculty of the Interlochen National Music Camp for 11 years. While in Des Moines, she founded and conducted the Jugendorchester for middle school students and the Des Moines Junior High Youth Orchestra. Dr. Wade performed the show orchestras of many famous entertainers and served on the board of Des Moines Musicians Union Local 75 as well as serving as chair of the orchestra committee of Des Moines Symphony.
Wade was a member of the Metropolitan String Quartet along with her spouse Lura. The group performed for many area functions over the years. She was concertmaster of the Bijou Players, a silent film touring group which accompanied silent films using the original music and cue sheets.
Dr. Wade’s awards include receiving the 2006 Leopold LaFosse College Outstanding Studio Teacher award from the American String Teachers Association. In 2007, Mayor Ike Ackerman presented Janice with the key to the city of Waverly and proclaimed “Dr. Janice Wade Day” in honor of her many artistic and cultural contributions to the city with the Wartburg Community Symphony. She served four consecutive terms on the music panel of the Iowa Arts Council and was past president of the Iowa String Teachers Association. Janice was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, national honorary music fraternity and listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who of American Entertainers, Notable American Women, Influential American Women and Who’s Who in American Orchestral Music.
Dr. Wade earned her Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees from Drake University and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Iowa. She was an avid woodworker, loved doing home improvement projects, sewing, and traveling the world with her wife.
Janice is survived by her spouse, Lura; two children, Kendall (Larry) Burns of North Platte, Nebraska, and Craig McCoy of Cincinnati, Ohio; and two grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; and one brother, David Richards.
Janice donated her body to the Anatomical Bequest Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Memorial services and a memorial concert tribute by the Des Moines Community Orchestra will be held at a future date. Memorial contributions may be directed the Des Moines Community Orchestra. Online condolences may be left at www.kaisercorson.com. Kaiser-Corson Funeral Home in Waverly is assisting the family. 319-352-1187
Kaiser Corson has a highly dedicated, professional staff to provide unconditional service before, during, and after the immediate need. Kaiser-Corson offers at-need services including complete funeral services, cremation services, immediate burial services, body donation, transfer and receiving services, and a full line of funeral related merchandise. Serving the communities of Waverly, Shell Rock, Denver, Readlyn, and surrounding areas.