Ray Kickliter died on February 14 at the Westminster Oaks Health Center after a lengthy illness. Ray is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Patricia Ann Potter (Patsy), a son Keith (Vicki), daughter Laura (Rex), brother Bill (Ann), sister Sharon Flower, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and beloved grandson, Clay.
Born December 19, 1933, in Tampa, Ray was the son of Curtis and Bonnie Kickliter. He graduated from Hillsborough High School and then attended Florida State School of Music, graduating in 1955 with a degree in Choral Music Education. After serving in the U.S. Air Force for three years, Ray did graduate work at Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville. He returned to Tallahassee in 1966 to become the Choral Director at Leon High School, a position he held for 22 years. After four years as Choral Director at Godby High School, he retired from the Leon County School system in 1993. Countless students have developed a lifelong love of singing thanks to the leadership and training provided by Ray Kickliter. He created a “tradition in a song” at Leon High that continues to this day.
Ray was active in Sigma Chi Fraternity, the Florida Vocal Association (FVA), the Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA), and the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA). He held the office of President for FVA and FMEA, and was Treasurer for many years for the Florida ACDA. In 2002 ACDA awarded Ray the Wayne Hugoboom Award for outstanding service and in 2012 he was inducted into the FVA Hall of Fame. Ray Kickliter was the Teacher of the Year, 1986-1987 for Leon High School.
Under Ray’s leadership as President, 1975-77, the Florida Vocal Association began the first Reading Chorus in the country, designed to encourage teachers and students to emphasize the skill of sight reading. The first FVA Summer Convention was also held during Ray’s tenure. During his FMEA Presidency, 1985-87, the first property in Tallahassee was purchased to house the organization. Ray was an innovative and enthusiastic leader and inspired and mentored many young teachers during his career.
Florida State University College of Music has an endowed a scholarship for Choral Music Education in honor of Ray and Patsy Kickliter. Anyone wishing to contribute to this scholarship should contact:
FSU Foundation-Ray and Patsy Kickliter Endowed Fund in Choral Music Education
2010 Levy Avenue, PO Box 3062739
Tallahassee, Florida 32306-2739