Fred Branscombe Binckes passed away on August 5, 2018, at Riverstone Hospice Home, Billings due to heart and kidney failure.
Fred was born on Sept. 6, 1936, in Gary, Indiana, to parents Fred and Helen Binckes. At the early age of four, both Fred and his brother Jeff were able to read and play music, as their father Fred Binckes, Sr. was a noted piano teacher in Gary and the Calumet area. Fred went on to learn organ from Dwight Davis, of City Methodist Church in Gary and had several organist positions at local churches even as a teenager. He won a scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory and graduated in 1958 with a BA in Music Performance, with honors. Subsequently he attended Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, and earned a Masters degree in Musical Arts. Later, he achieved a PhD degree in Music at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. In between these two advanced degrees Fred won the award of Fellow of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), through a series of competitive exams--the highest award given by the AGO.
Fred continued his music career in the Chicago area until he accepted a position as professor of music at Rocky Mountain College, in Billings. Over many years at 'Rocky' Fred taught harmony and music theory, 16th century counterpoint, and composition, as well as teaching advanced music majors piano and organ. Besides his academic work, Fred was organist at Mayflower Congregational Church (Poly Drive) for over 30 years, retiring from that position in the spring, 2014. Fred was single and lived in Laurel.
Fred is survived by his only brother Jeff Binckes, of Silver Spring, MD, along with Jeff's wife Elizabeth and their two daughters (Fred's nieces) Jennifer Binckes Lee, of Kensington, MD, and Valerie C. Brooks, Jaffrey New Hampshire.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at Mayflower Congregational Church at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow at the church