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Former UO music professor Anne Dhu McLucas honored in memorial service Saturday



The hushed murmurs in Beall Concert Hall subsided as a man walked across the stage and began to play the uilleann pipes. The song he played was an original composition called “Boundless,” composed in honor of the late University of Oregon professor Anne Dhu [email protected]@http://www.registerguard.com/web/updates/28726586-55/[email protected]@

Listening to the performance were McLucas’s family, friends, colleagues and students in a memorial service the UO held for her Saturday. McLucas, a 71-year-old music professor and former School of Music and Dance dean, was a victim of a double homicide along with her partner, James Gillette, in early September.

“(It is) hard to pick readings when a life ended so brutally,” said Rev. David Maynard , McLucas’s cousin, before reading the poems he selected to honor McLucas.

McLucas was just a few months short of retiring from a nearly 20-year career at the UO when she was killed. James Gillette’s 36-year-old son, Johan Gillette, is the main suspect in the case and faces two counts of aggravated murder. According to The Register-Guard, court documents show McLucas was killed after intervening in a dispute between Johan Gillette and his father James Gillette.

McLucas’s long career in music — one that included stints teaching at Wellesley College, Harvard, Colorado College and Boston [email protected]@[email protected]@ — was reflected at the memorial service, both in the music performed and the memories of her family. McLucas’s older sister, Caye Dhu Greer, recalled playing the piano together as young girls and again in recent years.

“It was wonderful,” Greer said. “I will miss it forever.”

McLucas’s only son, Jacob Shapiro, said that his mother’s death had torn a hole in the lives of the many people she had affected. After his statement, Shapiro played a song on a cello.

“When I play it, I feel her presence, and I take great solace in … having her nearby,” he said.

Family and colleagues spoke of McLucas’s devotion to her career at the UO, saying she was fully engaged in the life of the institution. According to colleagues, during her time as dean until 2002, McLucas attended every recital, special event and concert at the School of Music and Dance

McLucas’s colleague Marian Smith said, despite the shock of McLucas’s death, she was grateful for what McLucas had taught her.

“The key to Anne is to think of her without limits,” she said. “We can seek comfort in the memory of her boundlessness and the boundless nature of her love.”


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Samantha Matsumoto

Samantha Matsumoto