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Dr. Michael Culbert
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Obituary for Dr. Michael E. Culbert

Dr. Michael E.  Culbert
Dr. Michael E. Culbert, age 81, of Sewell, N.J., went home to Heaven on Sunday, March 25, 2012. He was born in the mountainous area of Molleystown, Pennsylvania, in Schuylkill County on May 8, 1930. Michael graduated as the Valedictorian of the Tremont Township High School Class of 1948. He was the beloved husband of Esther (nee Straub) for the past 60 years, and beloved father of Peggy Culbert of Sewell, N.J., James Culbert (Brenda) of Mount Wolf, PA., and Edward Culbert (Suzanne) of Southington, CT. He was the devoted grandfather of 6 grandchildren: Karey Beth Line (Will), Brian Culbert (Andria), Daniel Culbert, Michael Culbert, Shane Culbert, and Chelsea Culbert. He was the dear brother of Dawn Reish of Lancaster, PA. and Christine Wise (Ron) of Mount Wolf, PA. He is predeceased by his parents, Edward and Florence Culbert, and brother, David Culbert. Michael earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Degree with a minor in History from West Chester State College in Pennsylvania in 1951 and Masters (in 1959) and Doctoral Degrees in Music from Temple University in Pennsylvania (in 1974). During the Korean War, he was the Enlisted Conductor of the 47th Infantry Division Band at Camp Rucker, Alabama. His career was in the field of music education, which included work in York, Pennsylvania, Paulsboro High School in Paulsboro, N.J., Mantua Township Elementary Schools in Gloucester County, N.J., and Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill, N.J. from 1960-1992. He was the first teacher hired at Clearview, and its very first Band Director. He directed the Concert Band, Marching Band, and Stage Band for the span of his time there. His marching bands performed at all of the school's football games as well as many area parades and marching band competitions. Michael composed Clearview High School's "Alma Mater." A Scholarship in his name and honor, sponsored by the Band Auxiliary, has been awarded at every Clearview High School Graduation ceremony since his retirement in 1992. The award is given to a student choosing to enter the field of music. He taught music privately, especially piano lessons, at his home to individual students. Many of his students chose music as a professional career. In 1956, he helped to organize the Gloucester County Band, and was its first conductor. He also helped to organize the first Marching Band Competitions in the late 1960's in Gloucester County, N.J. He produced outstanding competition Marching Bands at Clearview and was a Charter Member of the "Tournament of Bands”. He created many of the shows himself as well as arranging many pieces of music for his marching band. He served as a member of the National Marching Band Judges Association for 15 years, specializing in "Music Analysis”. He served on the New Jersey Music Educator's State Board for four years as Parliamentarian and Music Educator's Representative to the New Jersey Education Association. In the early 1990's he earned the honor of being named one of three "Distinguished Music Educators" in the state of New Jersey for that year. He served as President of the Clearview Education Association for 10 years and Head of the Music Department for 24 years. In addition, he played jazz piano professionally for 10 years in the 1950's. In 1989, he was chosen to be the "Grand Marshall" of the Mantua Township Parade with a theme of "Music, Music, Music." Michael's career also included work as Organist and Director of Choirs at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Paulsboro, N.J. (1954-1963), St. John's Lutheran Church in Westville, N.J. (1963-1966), and The First Presbyterian Church in Woodbury Heights, N.J. (1966-1992). He directed many Christmas and Easter Choral Cantatas at these churches and provided special Brass Music for both Christmas and Easter Services as well. Michael, throughout his lifetime, also was notably talented in the mechanical area, and was quite ingenious about fixing and creating needed items for household use. He thoroughly enjoyed these "hands on" activities and was very generous with his time in helping others with household projects. Michael, and his wife Esther, were very active athletically for their entire lives up until the past 3 years. Beginning in 1963, they took their family of 5 on camping trips throughout the entire United States, visiting and hiking in almost every National Park in the country. In addition, uncountable points of interest and historical places were visited and enjoyed. A little prior to retirement, Michael and Esther began the adventure of back-packing the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail which spans from Maine to Georgia. In 1995, at the age of 65, as a duo, they bicycled 4,300 miles across the entire United States together from Oregon to Virginia. After that, they toured the countries of Ireland and Scotland on their bicycles. They also hiked in Wales and Scotland with members of the "Outdoor Club of New Jersey." Their adventures also took them on a 3 month trip to Alaska and a house exchange for one month with another couple in Hawaii. Next, they began to tour many different areas and countries across the globe on walking tours which included Alaska, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, and Panama. In the winter months, for a span of many years, they would eagerly get out their cross-country skis and ski locally, or at interesting places in the northeastern United States. During these years, Michael was skilled at creating combination educational "talks" and slide shows related to their back-packing, bicycling, and world travel, effectively gearing these to the specific interests of many area church and civic groups. Additionally, Michael participated for a span of years in the "Senior Olympics" and "Bankshot Basketball" Tournaments in Gloucester County, winning medals in each activity. Michael, in the past 10 years was an active member of the "Salem County Brass Society" in Carney's Point, N.J. as a trombonist, associate conductor, arranger of music, and music librarian. Michael remained active at the First Presbyterian Church in Woodbury Heights as President of the "Prime-Timers Senior Group." Michael helped for many years maintaining some of the grounds at the church and in many other ways. Michael also served for many years as the "President" for his yearly family reunion, held in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. He knew his family history astoundingly well, and gave many interesting and heart-warming talks to the group about family members living and deceased. He was a talented writer of loving poems focusing on individual family members and friends. He has touched the lives of countless students and people in very positive ways through his love of God, family, and community. His legacy of music lives on through hundreds of people. Michael's "Witness to the Resurrection" Funeral Service will be held at The First Presbyterian Church in Woodbury Heights, N.J. on Saturday, March 31st at 11:00am. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his viewing at the church beginning at 9:00am. Interment with military honors will be in Gloucester County Veterans Cemetery, Monroe Township, NJ. Donations in his memory may be made to First Presbyterian Church Of Woodbury Heights Memorial Fund 335 Elm Avenue, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097.

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