Stephen Haydn Prosser, 60, formerly of Altoona, passed away unexpectedly Oct. 10, 2012, at his home in Boston, Mass., after surgery.
He was the son of William Haydn Prosser, former mayor of Altoona, and Marion Elizabeth "Betty" (Croyle) Prosser, both deceased.
Steve was professor of music at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music in Boston, from 1979 until the time of his death. He led the Berklee Jazz Choir from 1979-90. He served as assistant chairman of the Ear Training Department from 1992-98 and then as chairman from 1998-2008. A master teacher, mentor and leader at Berklee, he was instrumental in the unionization of the Berklee faculty. Throughout his career, he was an assertive and courageous voice for student and faculty needs, rights and curriculum development.
Steve had an enormous capacity for learning. While teaching, he earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Boston College in 1992. He then earned a J.D. law degree, graduating magna cum laude from Boston's Suffolk University Law School in 1998. He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar the following year.
Steve was an international performer and clinician, providing training and evaluation of musicians in Japan, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United States. He was a well-known composer and arranger. He also authored two books on jazz music, significantly contributing to his area of specialization, ear training.
A memorial concert was given in Steve's honor at Berklee on March 28, 2013. Colleagues and former students, many traveling across the country, gathered to celebrate his life and his music. They performed his compositions and arrangements, performed pieces by his most beloved composers, and offered rich, endearing testimonials of gratitude and appreciation. They also brought to life his sense of humor in story, anecdote and song, providing much-needed laughter amidst the tears.
On June 18, 2013, Steve's ashes were interred at Altoona's Alto-Reste Park Cemetery next to his beloved parents. A private family graveside service was held in accordance with his wishes.
Surviving are a brother, Mark W. and wife, Deborah L.E. Miller, and their daughter, Haydn Claire Cui Prosser, all in Virginia; as well as numerous cousins, many of whom attended the family service. Finally, he is survived by his close friend and former wife of 19 years, Kris Adams of Boston, who remained steadfast in her care, friendship and love. Family, colleagues and friends, including lifelong friends from Altoona, are remembered in this time of loss and sadness due to Steve's unexpected passing.