Carson City celebrates Richard Doede’s 90th birthday |

Carson City celebrates Richard Doede’s 90th birthday

Richard Doede actually turned 90 on April 2, but who’s counting?

“I’m 90-plus,” Doede said. When asked Monday afternoon after finishing his workout routine at the Carson City Community Center on how he felt to be 90, Doede said, “The same way I feel getting to 90. I feel pretty good, really.”

Doede has been a long-time community leader, especially when it comes to music, as he established the Carson City Community Band and served as a band director in the Carson City School District. The community came together to honor Doede for turning 90 during a celebration on Saturday at the The Plaza banquet hall. Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell was there to present a proclamation in honor of Doede.

Doede served in the Navy from 1945 to 1948. He served on an aircraft carrier that would have been used — and would have been a prioritized target — had the United States invaded Japan. As Doede put it when describing that time and his life, “Right place at the right time.”

He went on to establish a community band sponsored by his Elks Lodge in Lansford, N.D., and in 1969 was told he needed to come down to the lodge. “I’m painting my house,” he said. The lodge wanted to inform him he was being honored as Elk of the Year for Lodge 1089.

Doede eventually came to Carson City where he was asked to establish a community band in the 1970s. Of the 16 original members of the band, Doede, who has been the group’s conductor, said six are still around. Doede and the band was able to represent Carson City and the U.S. around the world traveling to such places as Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia in 1988 and performed in the Community Band Festival in Davos, Switzerland in 1995.

He said he’s proud of Carson City’s musical heritage, noting Saliman Road that runs along Carson High is named after the school’s former band director. “Carson City has really quite a musical tradition,” Doede said.

While in Carson City, Doede served as the band director for all the elementary schools and went onto serve as Carson Middle School’s band director. He has also operated an instrument repair shop in the community.

When talking about the impact of Doede, Sandra Irvin said, “I first met Dick my first week in Carson after being hired as an elementary music specialist. He and his wife Carol always made it a point to take new music teachers out to dinner to welcome them, get to know them and to offer their assistance and expertise. Since then he has been a mentor, a friend, a conductor and part of my Carson City family. Being from Idaho, I had no family in the area so somewhere along the way I adopted him or he adopted me. Either way I am extremely grateful for his fatherly advice and his support personally and professionally.

“When I first began teaching band at Fremont Elementary, knowing how difficult it was to start 40 students on seven different instruments in the same room at the same time, Richard volunteered to come get my saxophone players started. He came back every year. Just one example which can be multiplied over and over again with many other music teachers and music students. As much as I learned from him professionally, his greatest lesson to me was how to forgive others with grace and élan. It is a blessing and privilege to be able to celebrate with Richard, his family and friends his 90th birthday.”