A private graveside service for William Lanny McAlister, 77, of Russellville, will be Wednesday, June 3, at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery in Russellville. A memorial service will be scheduled for a later date.
Lanny died Thursday, May 28, 2020. He was born January 7, 1943 in Russellville to Lano and Mayme Seay McAlister. A 1961 graduate of Russellville High School, he earned a music education degree from Florence State College (UNA) and a masters in music from the University of Georgia.
Lanny spent his entire professional career in music education. He organized and developed several high school band programs before moving to the college level. He was especially proud to be the founding band director of the T.M. Rogers High School “Buccaneers in Blue.” He taught at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia, before returning to Alabama to teach at Northwest Junior College. During his tenure at Northwest/Shoals, he directed numerous popular musicals. He is best remembered for two productions he wrote, "The Legend of Toyland" and "The Incident at Looney’s Tavern."
Lanny was an encourager and mentor to thousands of students. His lasting legacy is the countless students in whom he ingrained a lifelong love and passion for music. He accomplished this with both humor and discipline. Lanny was selfless in sharing his musical talents at funerals, weddings and other community events. He served the First Methodist Church in Russellville as organist and choir director for over 25 years. He was selected as Russellville’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2017.
Preceding him in death are his parents and infant daughter, Elizabeth Lee. Lanny is survived by his wife Gayle, daughter Jennifer Lowery, sister Sharon Grissom (Curt), brother Jeff McAlister, grandsons Zack, Tristan and Zeke Lowery, and several loving nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to the Music Department or Ministry Center at the Russellville First United Methodist Church.
Pinkard Funeral Home, Russellville, is directing.
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