Retired ASU & Watauga County Schools Educator Passes After Single Vehicle Wreck Midweek

Last Updated on September 12, 2015 8:36 am

Dr. Charles Lee Isley Jr, Professor Emeritus of Music at Appalachian State, passed away on Friday after a midweek wreck in Boone.

On Wednesday, Dr. Isley, 94, was injured when his 2004 Honda CRV overturned from an embankment at the intersection of Woodland and Skyview Drives. The CRV landed on the driver's side requiring Boone Fire to cut parts of the vehicle off to reach him. He was transported to Watauga Medical Center and then transported to Carolina's Medical Center in Charlotte due to neck injuries, according to a family member.

Dr. Isley was Professor Emeritus of Music at Appalachian State, he retired from the school in 1978. Dr. Isley also help develop a county-wide program in orchestral strings in the Watauga County School system, and served for two years as band director at Watauga High School, according to a bio on the Hayes School of Music website.

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted Saturday afternoon, September 19, 2015 at 5:30 PM at Boone United Methodist Church, according to Hampton Funeral Service.

Obituary from Hampton Funeral Service.

Dr. Charles Lee Isley, Jr., age 94, of Woodland Drive, Boone, passed away Friday evening, September 11, 2015 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Dr. Isley was born December 21, 1920 in Cooleemee, North Carolina, a son of the late Charles Lee Isley, Sr. and Sophie Cope Isley. He received a BS Degree in Education at Davidson College and became music director at Waynesville Township High School, Waynesville, North Carolina. He served one year in the U.S Marine Corps in World War II, and returned to Waynesville where he taught band, orchestra and chorus while completing a Masters Degree in Education at Appalachian State Teachers College.

In 1958, he became Associate Professor and Director of Bands at Appalachian State Teachers College, and after completing a Doctorate in Education at North Texas State University was promoted to professor. While at Appalachian, he led the way in founding Cannon Music Camp and served as the first camp director.

He was active in professional music organizations, served as state chairman of the orchestra and choral sections of the North Carolina Music Educators Association, as president of the association as was named an honorary life member. He was a member of the North Carolina Bandmasters Hall of Fame, and named Professor of Music Emeritus at Appalachian State University.

Isley was active in church and community work, serving as choir director in several churches. After retirement for the university, he taught instrumental music in the Watauga County Public Schools, where he had overseen development of an orchestral program several years earlier. He was founding conductor of the Watauga Community Band, performed in Blue Ridge Community Theater, and in a Barbershop Quartet, and served one term as president of the Watauga County Retired School Personnel.

Dr. Isley is survived by two daughters, Catherine Huzl and husband Jim of Charlotte, and Susan Lyons and husband Harry of Boone; three granddaughters, Sarah Lyons McKethan and husband Ben of Boone, DeAnna Lyons and fiancé Chris Gragg of Boone, and Emily Huzl McCarthy and husband Brandon of Charlotte; two grandsons, Charles Lyons and wife Molly of Asheboro and Michael Huzl of Charlotte; four great-grandsons, Patrick McKethan, Nickolas Lyons, John Thomas McKethan and Edward Lyons; three great-granddaughters, Ellie McKethan, Olivia McCarthy and Isley Lyons; a brother-in-law, Charles Robinson and a very special friend, Nancy Henry.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of fifty-seven years, Lois Caldwell Isley, a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and his sisters, Ellen Sowell and Imogene Robinson.

A Celebration of Life service for Dr. Charles Lee Isley, Jr. will be conducted Saturday afternoon, September 19, 2015 at 5:30 PM at Boone United Methodist Church. Officiating will be Reverend Jeff McLean. Entombment at Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens Mausoleum will be private.

The family will receive friends Friday evening, from 5:00 until 7:00 o'clock, at Hampton Funeral Service.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial contributions may be made to The Dr. Charles Isley Scholarship Fund, ASU Advancement Services, Gift Processing, PO Box 32014, Boone, North Carolina, 28608, or to the Watauga Community Band, 454 Grand Boulevard, Boone, North Carolina, 28607.

Online condolences may be sent to the Isley family at

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