William ‘Doc’ Estes

December 9, 1929 - January 3, 2022

William V. “Doc” Estes, who died Jan. 3, was born in Kansas City, MO, to Lester and Hazel Estes.

William V EstesThe family moved from Sedalia, MO, to Los Angeles, and Bill received his BA in voice from Pepperdine University in 1952. After serving in the Army, he went to the University of Missouri, where he met his future wife, Clarice Wood, and received his MA. Bill and Clarice were married on June 6, 1957, in Columbia, MO. The newlyweds moved to Champaign IL, where he received his PhD in music education from the University of Illinois. After the birth of their first son, Bill and Clarice moved to La Crosse in 1959 to take a job at Campus School. Shortly after another son was born, Bill became a professor in the Music Department at UW-La Crosse, where he spent the rest of his career before retiring in 1991. At UWL, he directed the University Singers, Collegiates, Women’s Chorus and Chamber Choir and was chairman of the Music Department. He also led the successful effort to get accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music. Somewhere along the way, he earned the nickname “Doc” that is still used to this day.

Among their many international trips with the choirs, Bill and Clarice discovered medieval brasses and started a collection that they took to the Minnesota and Arizona Renaissance Festivals for many years. The Brasswood Rubbing Center is still operating at the Arizona Renaissance Festival.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Clarice, and sister, Elizabeth.

He is survived by his sons, Steve (Leslie) of Raleigh, NC, and Mike (Mary) of Jackson, WY, and five grandchildren, William of Raleigh, NC (Victoria), Peter of Raleigh, NC, Sophia Felts of Denver, CO (Ryan), Katelyn Jackson of Boulder, WY (Bruce) and Annie of Jackson, WY.

A celebration of life will be at 11 a.m. Monday, May 30, at Christ Episcopal Church in La Crosse. Memorials may be given to the William Estes Choral Music Scholarship at UW-La Crosse.