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WCU Stories

Dick Trevarthen, writer of WCU fight song, passed

By Marlon W. Morgan

Robert Richard “Dick” Trevarthen, a former Western Carolina University director of bands, passed at 1 p.m., Aug. 17, in Clyde.

Trevarthen, 89, was a professor of music theory at WCU and was known for his passion for teaching, composing, arranging and playing music. Outside of the classroom, one of Trevarthen’s top accomplishments was writing WCU’s fight song.

He also arranged music for high school marching bands who won national competitions, started the Blue Ridge Big Band, the Smoky Mountain British Brass Band, the Haywood County Arts Council and numerous music reviews and singing groups, and created and produced theater plays.

dick trevarthen

Dick Trevarthen

Trevarthen was born in Bessemer City. He began playing piano at a young age. Trevarthen graduated from Gastonia High School and Duke University where he played the trombone in the marching band. He completed his master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan.

He is survived by his sons, Daniel Robert Trevarthen and wife Cynthia of Los Angeles; Ronald Wayne Trevarthen and wife Karen of Portland, Oregon; Richard Lawrence Trevarthen and wife Carol of Vancouver, Washington; Christian Banks Trevarthen and partner Chad Johnston of Portland, Oregon; stepson John William Hargrove and wife Kelly of Birmingham, Alabama; and stepdaughter Virginia Turner and her husband Rusty of Waynesville.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Ann Kendrick Trevarthen, who passed in 2012.

A music celebration of his life is being planned for an upcoming date. As Trevarthen was active in many organizations, a donation in his name may be made to the arts or music organization of choice.

The care of Trevarthen is being provided by Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville. An online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

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