Niclous “Nick” Leist, 74, of Jackson, passed away Sunday, January 4, 2015, at Barnes Jewish Christian Hospital in St. Louis.
He was born October 9, 1940, in Illmo, Missouri, to Otto N. and Bernice Lambert Leist. He and Judy McElmurry were married August 19, 1962, at Eisleben Lutheran Church in Illmo.
Nick was a 1962 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University. He had a sincere dedication and genuine love for the thousands of vocal and instrumental students he taught during his 36-year career.
He taught at Advance, Hayti, and Caruthersville, Missouri. In 1968, he began a 30-year career with Jackson High School where he raised countless musicians who all claim to be his #1 fan. In addition to directing vocal, concert, and marching band, he served 42 years as conductor of the Jackson Municipal Band and was a guest clinician and conductor for many high school and All-District Honors Bands across Missouri and Illinois. He had 27 years of “1” ratings at Missouri State Band Contests with Jackson High School; averaged 35-50 students in the SEMO All-District Band each year; and had dozens of students selected to Missouri All-State Band. Several of his former students are teaching music at high school and university levels, and several are playing professionally. His own words are, “My lifetime goal was to develop good consumers of the arts, not necessarily professional musicians.” Certainly, he superceded his goal! Nick retired in 1998, at which time he received a KFVS Heartland Teacher Award. He continued to conduct the Jackson Municipal Band until 2000.
Nick had been a faithful member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jackson over 45 years, formerly serving as an elder, as a youth Sunday school teacher, and in various other capacities. After he retired, he and Judy enjoyed traveling many states and overseas.
Loving survivors include his wife of 52 years, Judy of Jackson; three daughters, Susan Thomas of Jefferson City, Mo., Missi (Keith) Gailey) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Terri Leist of Cape Girardeau; four grandchildren; and a brother-in-law, Vernon Raines of Scott City, Missouri.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Maxine Callaway and Peggy Raines; and an infant sister.
The visitation and funeral are at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jackson and are as follows:
Visitation: Tuesday, January 6, 2015, from 3 to 8 PM, and Wednesday, January 7, from 9 AM to service time.
Funeral: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, at 10 AM.
Interment will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery in Cape Girardeau.
Memorials may take the form of contributions to the General Fund of St. Paul Lutheran Church or HOPE Seeds, 4501 Manatee Ave. W #161, Bradenton, Fla. 34209.
Arrangements by McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson.
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