Namesake for performing arts center Gerry Ohlendorf passes away

Namesake for performing arts center Gerry Ohlendorf passes away
Posted on 07/13/2017
Gerry Ohlendorf


Contact:    Christina Courson, Public Information Officer   

        (512) 398-0033 office

        (512) 738-1413 cell


Date: July 13, 2017

Geraldine (Gerry) Ohlendorf, beloved long-time Lockhart Independent School District music educator and namesake for the new LISD performing arts center, was laid to rest Tuesday. Ohlendorf passed away July 6, 2017. Her loss comes shortly after the LISD Board approved the naming at the June 25 regular Board meeting.

Trustees approved the name “Gerry Ohlendorf Performing Arts Center” (GOPAC) for the new facility under construction as an addition to Lockhart High School. The GOPAC is expected to complete construction and open in October 2017.

Ohlendorf’s son, Carl Ohlendorf,  represented his mother at the June 25 meeting that she was unable to attend, and approached the podium after the vote to thank the Board for honoring his mother.

Ohlendorf attended Lockhart schools as a band student herself. She later obtained her bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1952 and secured a position as an elementary music teacher. She resigned two years later to focus on raising her family but returned to the classroom in 1967 as a substitute teacher. It was during this period  J.L. Buckley offered Ohlendorf the position of junior high band director, a significant opportunity at a time when there were not many female band directors. Ohlendorf accepted and worked steadily to build a successful program for the students.

Ohlendorf retired in 1988, but when Desert Storm activated the high school band director to military service, she came out of retirement in 1990 to serve in this role until the high school could secure a new high school band director. Even then, Ohlendorf volunteered to help the new band director during the summer, and before she could return to retirement, the school district asked Ohlendorf to provide leadership as the assistant band director. After three decades of service to the school district, she retired a second time in 1999. Unsurprisingly, she continued to serve the community and her church and was a constant presence of support at school performances and events.

The Board first heard discussion about naming the PAC at the April 24 regular Board meeting. At the Board’s recommendation, the district conducted a community survey inviting feedback and nominations for the facility. The results of the survey were shared with the Board, and the results showed overwhelming support and numerous nominations to honor Ohlendorf.

“I am so pleased the community was able to participate in the process, and that in the end, we are able to honor someone who has truly dedicated her life to introducing generations of Lockhart children to music,” said Superintendent Susan Bohn. “Her loss is a difficult one for our community, but her legacy will continue to live in the hearts of the many she taught.”

The facility will seat 820 people and provide LISD students a first-rate performance facility to showcase their talent. The center will feature state-of-the-art lighting and sounds systems and a projection system with two large screens flanking the stage.  The district will share information with the public about the opening closer to the event.

Gerry Ohlendorf
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