Eddie B. Oyer obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Eddie B. Oyer

November 20, 1929 - March 17, 2015

Obituary


Mr. Eddie B. Oyer, 85, of Kansas City, MO passed away at home with his wife Patty and sister-in-law, Vickie by his side. Eddie was born on November 20, 1929 in Jacksonville, MO to Alfred and Jean Brooks. Eddie's memorial service will be held at Independence Boulevard Christian Church, 606 Gladstone Boulevard, Kansas City, MO on April 18, 2015, 11:00 AM in the Main Sanctuary.

Eddie's brothers were James Brooks, Donald Brooks, A.W. Brooks, Robert Brooks, Michael Brooks, and his sisters, Eleanor Mae Ryan and Linnie Di Giamcomo. As an infant he was adopted...

Mr. Eddie B. Oyer, 85, of Kansas City, MO passed away at home with his wife Patty and sister-in-law, Vickie by his side. Eddie was born on November 20, 1929 in Jacksonville, MO to Alfred and Jean Brooks. Eddie's memorial service will be held at Independence Boulevard Christian Church, 606 Gladstone Boulevard, Kansas City, MO on April 18, 2015, 11:00 AM in the Main Sanctuary.

Eddie's brothers were James Brooks, Donald Brooks, A.W. Brooks, Robert Brooks, Michael Brooks, and his sisters, Eleanor Mae Ryan and Linnie Di Giamcomo. As an infant he was adopted by his uncle and aunt, Clarence and Ida Mae Oyer of Kansas City, MO. A lifelong resident of the Northeast area he went to Gladstone elementary school and graduated Northeast High School in 1947. During his childhood his adopted mother saw in him a talent for music and was trained by his sister, Eleanor Mae and others. Eddie's musical accomplishments during his youth were many and legendary. Eddie began performing at the age of 3, a piano prodigy, sometimes in lounges and cocktail settings that because of his tender youth his mother had to be present. At the age of 10, owing to his music expertise, Eddie was given the extraordinary privilege of playing on the Viennese Steinway piano of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the renowned pianist and composer who was the former Prime Minister of Poland.

Eddie was distinguished for his brilliant smile and sequin costumes. He was known as "The Keyboard Atom Splitter" because of the meticulous way he played the Boogie Woogie. He played at the Muelbach Hotel, The Broadway Interlude, and at concerts for The Jenkins Music Company all across Kansas City. To great acclaim, Eddie performed at the Omar Lounge that was located in the Hotel Continental at 11th and Baltimore. Equally at home playing jazz, contemporary music or concertos by Rachmaninoff, many considered that Eddie, a deeply humble man, was a musical genius.
He continued this career until in 1950 when he enlisted the US Army and was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, KS. During this time he was trained as a Combat Engineer. Eddie had admitted that his talents did not extend to the handling of explosives and was always "getting blown up" during exercises. Before his battalion was to ship out to Korea, the Base Commander one day had heard Eddie playing the piano and he decided that is was more important for Eddie to entertain than to blow things up and was transferred to the Base band. It was during this time in the Army his talent for music was being recognized and in 1954 was featured in a talent contest on the Arlene Francis TV show in New York City where he took First Place.

After his service in the Army he returned home to Kansas City. His sister, Eleanor Mae had a dance and music studio on the third floor of the house on N. Lawn. He assisted her by playing the piano during student lessons. Later on when she had a child Eddie took over the business and a local legend was born.

In the 60's Eddie purchased a small building on 5240 St. John Ave and called it "The Eddie Oyer School of Music and Dance". There he remained for almost 50 years until his retirement in 2010. His thousands of students learned the gift of music, dance and pageant performance from Eddie, showering him with great respect and love. Many of his students went on to professional music careers, including performing at the Starlight Theater, local music theaters and even the Lawrence Welk Orchestra on television. Part of Eddie's inspired education method was to have children play the piano from small wooden fully functioning pianos that could be situated on a TV tray or table. Even after retirement Eddie continued to teach one student up to the time he passed away.

On August 25, 1967, Eddie's life was further fulfilled when he married the love of his life, Patty Strohm. Their love story continued for 49 years. During those years they were inseparable. Together they shared adventures travelling around the USA and Europe. Later on they loved taking ocean cruises where he continued to entertain by playing the piano for his fellow passengers.

Even during his years as a teacher he still found the time to involve himself with many civic activities. His involvement included membership in: The Kansas City Tourist Commission, The Musicians' Union, the Northeast Community Council (where Eddie and Patty first met), the Kansas City Chapter of the National Professional Business Association, Board member of the Kansas City Museum and Chairman of the local Chautauqua Committee.

For many years Eddie performed for the Glennon Nursing Home. He was an Elder, Sunday school teacher, and pianist at Budd Park Christian Church, Elder and pianist at Independence Boulevard Christian Church. In 2005 the Northeast Newspaper published an extensive article on Eddie's many accomplishments in which they named him, the man who "Taught Northeast to Dance".

In the spring of 2012 former student John Armato, established the Eddie and Patty Oyer Scholarship at Vandercook College of Music, Chicago, Illinois. The scholarship was designed to honor "the powerful impact Mr. Oyer's presence has had" on the life of his many students. The scholarship is a gift award to worthy students in both the Bachelor and Master of Music college programs.

Eddie is survived by his beloved wife of 47 years, Patty; brothers, Donald Brooks (wife Mary Lee); A.W. Brooks; Robert Brooks (wife Binnie); sister, Linnie DiGiamcomo (husband Robert); sister-in-laws: Vickie Strohm and Betty West; brother-in-law, Charlie Strohm (wife Candace) and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, great-great nieces/nephews.

Patty Oyer wishes to thank in a special way Dr. Steiner and his staff, North Care Hospice, Rev. Lee Chiaramonte and son, Jaime, their dear next door neighbors; old time friends, the Robinsons; and his buddy sister-in-law, Vickie, who deeply misses him; Patty's sister, Betty, Joe the Barber and a special lady who helped "Mr. Eddie" ''' she knows who she is. Memorial Contributions can be made to Independence Boulevard Christian Church, 606 Gladstone Blvd., 64124, or the Eddie and Patty Oyer Scholarship Fund at Vandercook College of Music, 3140 S. Federal Street, Chicago, Illinois 60616. www.VanderCook.edu. Online condolences to www.mcgilleysheil.com. Arr: McGilley & Sheil Chapel, 816-353-6555.