In Memory

Keith Altemeier


October 1, 2012
Messenger News

Keith A. Altemeier, 81, of Fort Dodge, died Saturday, September 29, 2012 at the Fort Dodge Villa Care Center.

A service honoring Keith's life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 3, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church with the Rev. Lyle Hansen officiating. Interment will be at 3:00 p.m. at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens in Marshalltown with military honors being presented. A reception will follow the interment at The Embers in Marshalltown, located at 1211 W. State St. The visitation is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services.

Keith is survived by his wife Janet; his children, Janine (Brad) Niemeyer, Fort Dodge; Tara (Mike) Murphy, Des Moines; Sara Altemeier, Ankeny; David Altemeier, Des Moines; two grandchildren, Dalton and Annie Niemeyer; his sisters, Marilyn Hupfeld, Marshalltown; Lorraine Stueck, Dysart, Beverly White, Altoona; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

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Keith A. Altemeier, the son of Leroy E. and Grace A. (Allen) Altemeier, was born April 3, 1931 in Laurel, Iowa. He graduated from Liscomb High School in 1948 and received his B.A. degree in music education from Iowa State Teachers College in 1952. Keith served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 and taught radio school while serving in Japan. Following his discharge, he taught music in Jamaica, Iowa from 1954 to 1959. On August 2, 1959, Keith was united in marriage to Janet McCollum in Churdan. Keith completed his Masters degree from Drake University in 1960 and he and Janet lived in Carlisle where he taught until 1962 when they moved to Fort Dodge and have since lived. Keith taught music at Fort Dodge Senior High until retiring in 1990 following 28 years of service. He continued a lifelong advocacy for youth and music education.

Keith was past president of the Iowa Band Masters Association, and American School Band Association. He was active in the Iowa Music Education Association and with the Music Educators National Conferences. Keith served as treasurer of Hawkeye Theatre and was past president of the Fine Arts Council. He was a member of the Karl King Band since 1960, serving as assistant conductor from 1963 to 2007 and also as secretary and librarian for the band. He was the light technician for the Fort Dodge Civic Glee Club for 30 years.

Memorials may be directed to the Karl King Scholarship Fund.


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10/04/12 05:43 AM #1    

Suzanne Knupp (Sawyer)

Paying tribute to Keith Altemeier

October 3, 2012
Messenger News

Friends, family members and former students of Keith Altemeier will attend a service celebrating his life at 10:30 this morning at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

He died Saturday at the Fort Dodge Villa Care Center at the age of 81.

Among his many accomplishments - including past presidencies of the Iowa Band Masters Association and American School Band Association, and his decades-long involvement with the Karl L. King Municipal Band - Altemeier taught music at Fort Dodge Senior High for 28 years, until retiring in 1990. In an interview with The Messenger, Altemeier estimated that he had instructed some 1,400 music students during his tenure.

Many of those students have weighed in, especially on social media sites, since his death.

Mark Mittelstadt, FDSH Class of 1971, was a member of the marching band, concert band, pep band and musical pit orchestra under Altemeier for three years. Mittelstadt reminisced about Altemeier, calling him a "passionate musician and director."

"You did not want to incur the wrath or evil stare of Mr. A, as we often called him," Mittelstadt said. "But he was also a good friend and compassionate and wise counselor to lost souls (who many of us 'band kids' were at that time in our lives). He made high school bearable - and even fun at times - for many of us."

No doubt, one of the reasons Altemeier was valued by his students was his unwavering belief in them.

He once told The Messenger, "There are differences in talent. But almost without exception, anyone who has the interest and desire can become an accomplished musician. It takes commitment, it takes time. We don't drop anyone out of the (FDSH band) program on the basis of how they play or do not play. Everyone has a place."

For many of those students, that place today will be Good Shepherd Lutheran Church as they their goodbyes to Mr. A.


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