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Donald Marcouiller
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Obituary for Donald Marcouiller

Don  Marcouiller passed into eternal life unexpectedly and peacefully on Sunday, August 5, 2018.  It seems fitting and proper that he should leave gently, in the same way he served so many in life in the grace of God.  He will be deeply missed by six children and their spouses, 19 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren.  Family, was the essence of his life.

Don was born to Ruby I. and Edward J. Marcouiller in Lena, Wisconsin on October 19, 1925.  The family later moved to Green Bay where Don grew up with his brother, Wayne. Graduating from high school in 1943, Don entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Interrupted by World War II he served in the U.S.Navy, 1944-1946. Don returned to marry the love of his life, Adris  B. Clark of DePere, WI on August 23 ,1947.  The couple relocated to Madison where Don completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music and Music Education. He was then appointed Assistant Director of Bands, Director- Marching Bands at Wisconsin. He led the Wisconsin Band in the 1953 Rose Bowl.  Don was elected to the University of Wisconsin Marching Band Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 1956 Don and Adris moved the family to Des Moines when Don was named Director of Bands at Drake University; he served there until 1987.  While at Drake, the band program achieved national prominence.  Don always considered the real success of the program to be the achievements of “his kids”, the university students that he served and followed throughout their careers.

The Concert Band performed  for national conferences of preeminent music education organizations, and premiered major compositions by six nationally renowned composers.  He was a guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer in 38 states, Ireland, Canada and Mexico. The Drake University Marching Band performed at 18 National Football League games and was named, “One of the nation’s top five marching bands.” by CBS Television.  

While at Drake he authored the book, “Marching for Marching Bands,” introducing the unit system of marching which was widely adopted by marching bands across the U.S.   For 50 years he served on the Executive Committee of the Drake Relays, and was elected to its Hall of Fame.  He is Professor Emeritus of Wind and Brass Instruments and Director of Bands at Drake.  Don was a Board Member of the American Bandmasters Association, and Past President of College Band Directors National Association, Iowa Bandmasters Association, Iowa Music Educators Association, and Des Moines Civic Music Association.

Don was preceded in death by his loving wife, Adris, and brother, Wayne. He will be deeply missed by daughter Kay and husband Joe Hermann, Cookville, TN; daughter Beth and husband Ted Wanland, Chicago, IL; son Pat and wife Patrice, Atlanta, GA; son Dave and wife Margaret Marcouiller, Urbandale, IA; son Mark and wife Jennifer Marcouiller, Waukee, IA; and son Scott and wife Abby Marcouiller, St. Louis, MO. The family wishes to thank the staff and many people who gave Don friendship and happiness over the last two years at Walnut Ridge.

Visitation will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 9 at Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home, 8201 Hickman Rd., Urbandale. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, August 10 at Saint Theresa's Catholic Church, 1230 Merle Hay Rd., Des Moines at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers,  memorials may be made to St. Theresa’s Catholic Church or to the Don R. Marcouiller Endowment for Band Excellence at Drake University.

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Previous Events





4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home and Crematory

8201 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50322





6:30 PM
Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home and Crematory

8201 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50322

Funeral Service




10:00 AM
St. Theresa Catholic Church

1230 Merle Hay Rd
Des Moines, Iowa 50311

Cemetery Details


Resthaven Cemetery

801 19th St
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265


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