Martin Eugene Clancey died peacefully Sunday, July 18, 2021, surrounded by and supported by his adoring family. Marty was born September 12, 1950, in Sioux City, Iowa, the oldest of eight children. He discovered the violin at a young age and would escape to the attic_ of his family’s home - the one private place in a house with eight children - to practice daily. Playing music came naturally to him and became a focus of his life.
While attending the University of Iowa, where he majored in Music Performance, Marty met Connie Lehman. Eight days later (yes! Eight days!) the two were engaged and six months after that, they were married in Iowa City. They celebrated their 49th anniversary this year.
Marty first became a father in 1978 when daughter, Jennifer, was born and again in 1989 when son, Andrew, arrived. Parenting came as naturally to Marty as music did and this was clear in the very special relationship he shared with his children. Whether he was taking Jen to a New Kids on the Block concert, teaching Andrew to drive a stick in the loudest, jerkiest Ford Ranger, talking music performance and music theory with them, going on bike rides together, or teaching them both how to use power tools and fix things, it was always evident that his family was his great joy.
Before becoming a teacher Marty played viola in both the Tri-City and Cedar Rapids Symphonies. He also learned to make jewelry and opened The River City Emporium, a consignment shop that supported Iowa City artists. As much as he loved this life of creativity, he wanted to make a difference for young musicians and returned to college to get his teaching certification. Marty taught at the Gregory – Lincoln Education Center, a Fine Arts Magnet School in Houston, TX, then at Jefferson High School and Franklin Middle School in Cedar Rapids. In Texas, he discovered his ability to create a learning environment that was safe, inclusive, and fun for all students, regardless of background, homelife, or school social status, a gift that he carried with him throughout his teaching career. In Iowa, he organized the Jefferson Invitational, an annual competition between orchestras from eastern Iowa, served a term as President of Iowa String Teachers Association and encouraged use of technology in all aspects of teaching and music. After Marty retired, he was approached to form a community orchestra and created a group that welcomed adult string players of any age, no auditions required. The Cedar Rapids Community String Orchestra began rehearsals in 2013 and, not surprisingly, included many former students.
Aside from writing, arranging, conducting, and performing music, one of Marty’s most favorite pastimes was riding his bicycle, which he did any chance he had, and even participated in RAGBRAI on two occasions with his kids joining him one year. The family also enjoyed travelling, with Ireland being one of Marty’s favorite destinations.
Marty has impacted so many lives and his drive and determination, loving kindness, support for the underdogs, and generosity will be greatly missed by all who are fortunate enough to have known him.
Martin was preceded in death by his parents Douglas and Margaret (Dreves) Clancey and his sister, Margaret Clancey. He is survived by his wife, Connie, and children, Jennifer and Andrew (Jasmine), his brothers Douglas (Mish) Clancey of Longmont, CO, Mike Clancey of Fairmont, MN, and Fred (Jolynn) Clancey of Edgerton, Wi, his sisters Connie (Gary) Bennett of Muscatine, IA, Donna (Earl) Brown of Roland, IA, and Clara (Keith) Lohse of Moyock NC, his uncle John (Elizabeth) Dreves of Knoxville, TN, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held later, tentatively in late August. In lieu of flowers, please help his family honor his legacy by donating to the Cedar Rapids Community Orchestra, 6455 E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.