Created on Thursday, 03 May 2007 06:57
Last Updated on Friday, 04 May 2007 05:28
Kenneth W. Belding, at age 83, passed away after a long illness on Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at Sky View Medical Center in Croton on Hudson, NY. His wife of 46 years, Zoe Grant, had predeceased him on May 13, 2006.
Ken was born in Burlington, VT, on March 5, 1924, the son of Raymond and Marion Field Belding, having moved to Northfield early thereafter. While in high school, Ken was captain of the ski team, sang in the high school chorus, played drums in the high school band and tympany in the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
In 1941, Ken enlisted in the Air Force and after flight training was denied fighter pilot status because of a speech impediment. He requested assignment to the Air Force Band, in which he played for the remainder of his enlistment.
After the war, he attended University of Vermont. Ken joined the ATO fraternity, led the inter-fraternity annual song competition, and was the leader and played drums in the very popular Catamount Swing Band.
He continued with his interest in sports, becoming captain of the UVM ski team, which won many outstanding titles during his tenure. He participated in the Olympic tryouts for the 1960 Winter Olympics in which Ken qualified for the cross country competition. He declined participation in the Olympics due to a personal conflict.
While at UVM, he became a member of the ski patrol at Mount Mansfield and continued with his interest in music, playing with a small group at such iconoclastic places as the Baggy Knees in Stowe, VT. Following graduation in 1957, he joined a number of "Big Bands," playing worldwide tours with such notables as Peter Duchin, Les Elgart and Johnny Mathis. On one occasion, Ken was invited to play at the Presidential Inaugural Ball for John F. Kennedy in Washington, DC.
In 1960, Ken ceased his worldwide Big Band tours and bought a house in Pleasantville, NY. Ken and Zoe continued with their music on a local level, teaching and playing in various places throughout Westchester County and neighboring areas.
Ken was an outstanding athlete and exceptional musician. Soft spoken, he rarely complained, a man without braggadocio who will be greatly missed.
Zoe is survived by her niece Cherie Nutting of New York City.
Ken is survived by his sister, Marilyn Belding Hilly, and her husband, Gerald W. Hilly, of Waitsfield; nieces Meg Hilly and Rebecca Hilly Eaton and her husband, Mark Eaton, of Park City, UT; nephew Jed Hilly and wife Susan O'Hara Hilly, Nashville, TN; and grand nieces and nephews Bailey O'Hara Hilly, Anabel O'Hara Hilly, Charles O'Hara Hilly, Wyatt Stockton Schmidt.
. Graveside services will be held with military honors at Mount Hope Cemetery, Northfield, on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow at the Red Kettle, Route 12 south in Northfield.