Richard A Enright

Born on November 29, 1923

Departed on December 23, 2016 and resided in Atlanta, GA

After ninety-three years of touching the lives of those who knew him, Richard Gordon Enright, passed away peacefully on December 23, 2016, at Lenbrook Square in Atlanta, GA. Richard will be remembered for his warmth, humility and quick wit; and for being the consummate professional and mentor. Born on November 29, 1923, in Freeport IL, he was the son and only child of the late Harold and Grace Enright. He had completed two years of undergraduate studies at the University of Dubuque, in Iowa, when World War II broke out. He served in Patton's Third Army of the 26th Infantry Division in the European Theatre from 1943 until the war ended in 1946. A gifted musician, Dick received his Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, in 1948, followed by a Master of Music a year later, and a Doctor of Music in 1961. While at Northwestern, he met Clara Mae Sandy Sandehn, an equally gifted organist who was also blessed with a beautiful soprano voice. They were married in 1949 and embarked on a musical journey, highlighted by numerous recitals and choral performances together. A demanding, yet beloved professor, Richard served on the faculty of the School of Music at Northwestern for 35 years, becoming Chairman of the Department of Church Music and Organ in 1969 and serving until his retirement in 1989. At that time, he was granted the title of Professor Emeritus of Church Music and Organ. In addition to his work at Northwestern, he pursued additional study at the Royal School of Music in England and at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Frankfort, Germany. He is the author of a still widely used text on organ instruction, Fundamentals of Organ Playing, published by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis. He had lectured at Chicago Theological Seminary and the Music Teachers National Convention, and served as a panelist at the National Organ Pedagogy Conference in Berkeley, CA. His recitals included those at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Cathedral, the Riverside Church in NYC, and Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. Early on in his career, Richard served as Associate Organist and Choirmaster at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, followed by a 22-year tenure as Organist and Choirmaster at First Presbyterian Church in Evanston, IL. Thinking he had retired from his "church job" in Evanston, he was lured to the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, IL to "help them out for a month" and ended up serving as their organist for 23 years; finally retiring at age 70. Despite a seven-day workweek that spanned fifty years, Dick found great joy and passion in gardening, gourmet baking and telling a clever joke. In 2005, Dick and Sandy escaped the harsh Chicago climate and relocated to Lenbrook in Atlanta, GA, to be closer to their daughter and her family. He is survived by his devoted wife of 67 years, Sandy, daughter, Catharine Walton Reeves and son, Steven Krista of Fort Worth, TX; and grandsons, Harrison Reeves, and Kevin and Scott Enright. He is also survived by his nephew, William Miner Pam, and their children; and niece, Nancy Nilsen David of Rockford, IL. The family would like to thank all of his wonderful caregivers at Lenbrook and Crossroads Hospice for their kindness and good care. A memorial service honoring Richard Enright will be held on Friday, January 6th at 1:00 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church 3003 Howell Mill Rd, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, immediately followed by a reception in Williams Hall inside the church, In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Adele McKee Music Fund of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

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Guestbook Entries

  1. Wendi Amundson Unrein January 1, 2017 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Oh I can’t say enough how saddened at this news! I have soooo many wonderful memories with Dr Enright, at First Presb LF, as a member of the choirs growing up, sitting next to him in the loft watching him move his feet on the organ which I thought was so neat. He was such a gracious man, ALWAYS kind, one of those you meet growing up that touches your heart in a way that leaves an indelible memory. To the Enrights my heart so goes out to you and I pray for the Lord’s wonderful peace to fill you as you walk out this new chapter. How wonderful that he lived passionately in his craft and left us with such a treasure!!!

  2. David William Miner January 5, 2017 at 12:00 am - Reply

    As accomplished an organist and scholar as he was, Uncle Dick was always willing to appease our desire to play with all the keys and stops on his organ.
    I remember him back then as a warm, cheerful, and fun uncle. I particularly remember a Christmas when he dressed as Santa; he could certainly play the part with that stature and voice! Looking back, I realize they must have left no stone unturned looking for my gift that year.
    As I grow older, I realized more and more that although I knew he loved me, I had no idea how much. Let us always remember that he was one of those who risked it all for us; as a soldier in Patton’s 3rd, he answered the call and marched bravely through the darkest nights to ensure there would be daylight for those after him. When I watch Uncle Dick play the organ, I didn’t just hear his music – I heard who he is. That brilliant music didn’t just come from his came from his soul.

    Thank You for Your Service, Uncle Dick. I Love You!

  3. Andy Miner January 5, 2017 at 12:00 am - Reply

    As I have been thinking back about my memories of Uncle Dick, every memory I have was of him smiling. Whether it was arriving to their home, sitting down to an incredible dinner or Mcdonalds! or getting a chance to hear him play the organ in their home I always remember how happy he was.
    It’s been years since I last saw him, but my drive to work takes me right by their old home in Evanston, so I think about my memories of him and Sandy almost daily and every time it fills my soul with warmth and happiness. He will be missed greatly, but memories of his smiles and laughs will never be forgotten.

  4. Thomas Miller January 8, 2017 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Dear Sandy Enright,
    I was greatly saddened to hear of Dick’s passing. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him during my years at NU. He was a good Faculty member and Chairman. Please accept my most sincere condolences.
    Thomas W. Miller, Dean Emeritus

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