Dr. Allan Dean Kellar, 88, passed away Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the University of Minnesota Hospital – East Bank. He was encircled by his loving family when he peacefully returned to his heavenly Creator. A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, June 18, 11am, at First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater.
Allan was born January 26, 1934, in Danville, Iowa, the son of Paul and Grace (Mathews) Kellar. After graduation from Danville High School, where he played basketball and baseball and was active in music, he attended Grinnell College, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and as a member of two national honor societies: Phi Beta Kappa (academics) and Pi Kappa Lambda (music).
He was drafted into the US Army and served in this country and in Italy during the years 1955-1957. Following discharge from the army he taught high school and junior high choral music for four years in Chariton, Iowa, where he met and married Linda Bricker, with whom he celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in 2021. They raised two daughters, Beth and Holly, who later became executives with different non-profit musical organizations.
He began graduate studies in music at the University of Iowa in 1961, completing both his Master’s degree, and in 1970, his Ph.D. During this time he also directed the choral music program at the university laboratory school from 1962 to 1965.
Allan was invited to join the faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, in 1965 as chair of the music department, teacher of music history, and director of choral activities. During his years at Coe he led Coe Choirs on seven concert/study tours to Europe, during which the Choir performed in many countries both in western Europe and behind the then-Iron Curtain. During his years at Coe he also directed the choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids; in the summer of 1985 he led that choir on a European tour.
In 1975 he was named to the Pearl M. Taylor Chair in Music, Coe College’s first-ever endowed professorial chair. In 2010 Grinnell College presented him with an Alumni Award for his work as a teacher and humanitarian.
The Kellars moved to Lake Elmo, MN, in 1999, following the birth in the Twin Cities of their first grandchild. They immediately became active in musical and community activities. Allan was named director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater, and continued to direct the choir there until Christmas 2021.
Allan enjoyed performing and appeared in several Cedar Rapids Opera Theater productions. Following his retirement from Coe he spent a number of months touring and performing one of the lead roles in a new opera, “The Shoulder,” by Dan Hurlin and Dan Moses Schreier. These performances included a 7-week engagement at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT. He also performed in Broadway-style musical productions presented by the Stillwater Community Theater, and for 10 years was a member of the Minnesota Chorale, performing regularly with the Minnesota Orchestra. He was a long-time member of Actors’ Equity and a life member of the American Choral Directors Association.
Allan loved baseball, traveling, reading, and taking photographs, but most of all he loved his family: his beloved wife Linda of 61 years; his daughters Beth (son-in-law Nathan) and Holly; and his grandchildren, Grace and Sam – all of whose achievements he was extremely proud. The 20+ years of family vacations together were the highlights of every year.
He is survived by his wife, Linda, of Lake Elmo; daughters Beth Kellar-Long, St. Paul, and Holly, Minneapolis; grandchildren Grace and Sam Kellar-Long; and brothers Donald (Burlington, IA) and Lorrence (Cincinnati, OH); and is remembered by many friends, relatives, and former students. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Iona.
Memorial gifts can be made to the MS Society or the Allan Kellar Music Fund at Coe College. The family requests no flowers, please.