Paul Mansur was a native Oklahoman, born July 19, 1926, in Hammon, Ok., to Josie Pauline Bayles and Estle Thurman Mansur.
Both of his parents were born in the Oklahoma Territory in what is now western Oklahoma. His family moved about quite a lot during his early years. They settled in 1936 in the Wewoka area of Seminole County. Paul’s musical career began in 1941 as a sophomore beginner on the French horn under the tutelage of Everett Wilcox, the highly regarded band director of the Wewoka High School Band.
During the following year he surpassed the other hornists and became the first chair player.
In 1943 he entered the Oklahoma Military Academy and graduated from that institution in 1944. He continued his musical work in the OMA band that year under the direction of P.H. Kelley, (known as “Power House” to the cadets).
He gave up the horn for the next two years as he entered the US Navy in September, 1944. After attending Boot Camp and Service School, Paul was assigned to the USS Leray Wilson, a Five Inch Destroyer Escort serving in the Philippines.
He was discharged in time to reenter the University of Oklahoma in the fall term of 1946. Paul also had attended the summer session at OU in 1944 before entering the Navy. His first major at OU was in Civil Engineering.
Dismal math skills ended that venture and after considerable searching he changed to the School of Music as he had been playing with the university band and symphony orchestra for two years. He had also taken one semester of private study with George Yeager, the solo hornist with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra.
He completed two Bachelor of Music degrees during the next three years in Music Theory and in French horn, graduating in 1951. As a student, he had also played extra parts and substituted in the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra.
On June 10, 1951, shortly after graduation, Paul married Norma Louise Reed of Konawa, Ok., and they lived in Oklahoma City. Luckily for Paul, Norma had excellent math skills which she applied to home finance. And, as well, Norma, initially being food-preparation-challenged, found herself enjoying Paul’s cooking.
In the fall of 1951 he secured a Graduate Assistantship in Music along with the Phoenix Symphony Guild Scholarship to attend and teach French horn at Arizona State College at Tempe and a playing position with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.
After two years he graduated with a Master of Arts in Education degree.
In 1953 Paul began a two-year term as Director of Bands of the Marianna High School, Marianna, Ar. On April 21, 1954, his son Max Lynn was born. Then, in 1955 he took a position as Director of Bands in the Tucumcari, NM Public Schools, staying for the next four years.
In 1959 he accepted an Assistantship with the University of Oklahoma Bands and began his doctoral degree in Education with a teaching field in Music. He played in the University Symphonic Band, directed the Air Force ROTC band, and helped with the conducting and planning of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. He also taught Horn at the University for one semester.
In the fall of 1962 Paul had completed his course work but needed to stay in Norman to work on the dissertation, so he accepted a post as Director of Music Therapy at Central State Griffin Memorial Hospital. He held this position for three years and counted the experience as one of the best learning experiences and most satisfying job of his life along with being the poorest paid position of his career.
In 1964 Paul and Norma adopted a daughter, Kay Lenora, who was four years old at the time, a Native American of the Caddo Nation.
Paul completed his Doctorate in Education in 1965. This, in no small part, due to the math skills of Norma, finely honed through her work in banking and finance, being applied in the areas of personal finance and home economics. The family would joke that she deserved a Ph.T. degree for Put Husband Through!
So then, now being titled as Dr. Mansur, he was hired at the rank of Associate Professor and Chairman of the Music Department at Southeastern State College in Durant, Ok. Later, the college became Southeastern Oklahoma State University, or SOSU, where he taught for 25 years, beginning in 1965 as Chairman of the Music Department, and retiring in 1990 as Dean, School of Arts and Letters.
During his tenure he became the Editor of the International Horn Society, serving in that capacity for 17 years with a total of 23 years on the IHS Advisory Council, the organization’s governing body. Highlights of that experience included eight trips to Europe to represent the IHS at Symposia and other functions.
Other activity during these years included representation to committees and conventions of the state association of college music departments, the Music Educators National Association, and the Jazz Educators Association. SOSU engaged in a thorough self-study and became an accredited full member of the National Association of Schools of Music during his tenure.
During his time at SOSU, Dr. Mansur was the Principal Horn of the Sherman Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. He encouraged many of his better students to audition for the Sherman orchestra and provided transportation for up to four students per year who were successful in being accepted for the orchestra.
In 1975 he was elected to the Board of Directors of Camp Fire, Inc., and served five years in that capacity as well as on the local Board of the Bryan County Council of Camp Fire for some ten years. Paul also was a member of the Kiwanis Club for 35 years including a term as Lieutenant Governor of Division 8 for 1983-84.
While living in Durant, he also preached for the Blue Church of Christ for some ten years and later for 11 years with the Utica congregation.
Paul and Norma moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1995, and settled in the Hixson area. He soon began playing the French horn in community bands and the Cadek Community Orchestra sponsored by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
He also began teaching private lessons to students in several area high schools. A number of these students were selected for membership in the Tennessee All State Band and Orchestra and have since gone on to become professional music teachers and musicians. He also conducted the community band known as the Metro Musicians and continued playing with the Cadek Community Orchestra for several years.
Paul was delighted in 2003 to be designated as an Honorary Member of the International Horn Society. This is the most prestigious award the Board of Directors can bestow on any living horn player and he was honored indeed to be numbered with the most esteemed colleagues who have received this honor such as Barry Tuckwell, Hermann Baumann, Mason Jones, and other noted hornists.
In 2006 Dr. Mansur received the Distinguished Former Faculty Award from the SOSU Alumni Association.
He and his wife remained active in church work with the North Hixson church of Christ where he often led congregational singing and enjoyed teaching. They were engaged in teaching prison inmates in Tennessee and North Dakota via a Bible Correspondence course.
Paul and Norma celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary in 2008. Their two children, Max Lynn Mansur of Centreville, Va., and Kay Lenora Toothaker of Somerville, Al., endowed them with six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Paul Max Mansur passed away on March 2, 2009, in Chattanooga.
Services will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, in the Legacy Funeral Home Chapel. The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday at the funeral home.
The family requests in lieu of flowers that memorial contributions be made The Paul Mansur Scholarship, International Horn Society, attn: Heidi Vogel, P.O. Box 630158 Lanai City, HI 96763-0158.
Online contributions can be made at http://www.hornsociety.org/content/view/118/106/lang.en/.
Arrangements are by Legacy Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 8911 Dallas Hollow Road, Soddy-Daisy, Tn.
We invite you to share your thoughts and memories with the family at www.legacyfuneralhome.com, 24-hour obituary line, 843-5055.