Ross Kellan, director of music education and conductor of the Symphonic Band at Elmhurst College, died on Sunday, June 4, at his home in Lombard after valiantly fighting cancer for seven years. He was 68.
A memorial gathering will be held on Friday, June 9, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Brust Funeral Home, 135 S. Main St., Lombard.
Kellan was beloved by his students and colleagues for his generous spirit and his passion for working with young people. He was “one of the most gifted teachers in our profession—completely devoted to his students and their success,” said Peter Griffin, chair of the music department at Elmhurst. “He also was an incredibly kind and compassionate friend, mentor and colleague to all who knew him.
“The way he lived his life, both personally and professionally, inspires us to reach for excellence and challenge ourselves in ways we never thought possible. We are forever changed in the best possible ways because of him.”
Kellan joined Elmhurst College in 2005, after a 33-year teaching career at Glenbard East High School in Lombard. He has been guest conductor for the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Band, the All-Carolina Band Festival and the Eastern Illinois University Concert Band Festival. In 2011 he was inducted into Phi Beta Mu, the Band Directors Hall of Fame. He also was the recipient of the Mary Hoffman Music Educator Award for teaching excellence from the Illinois Music Educators Association; and was voted to receive the John P. Paynter Music Educator Award from the Quinlan and Fabish Music Company.
In 2013 the Elmhurst College Alumni Association presented him with the Dr. Andrew K. Prinz Faculty Merit Award. In May of 2010, Kellan received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College.
He is survived by his wife, Jeri; his daughter, Erin; brother, Kurt; and sister, Jayne. In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted for the Ross Kellan Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations (payable to Glenbard East Music Association; indicate Kellan Scholarship in the memo) should be sent to Glenbard East High School, ATTN: GEMA/Music Dept., 1014 S. Main St., Lombard, IL 60148.