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Memories & Candles

“It was a great honor and privilege to know Guthrie and work with him for more than thirty years. How lucky it was for me! ”
1 of 16 | Posted by: Ed Shay - Chester, VT

“I was so sorry to hear of Guthrie's passing. It has been a delight to count him as a friend for the past 20 years. ”
2 of 16 | Posted by: Peggy Langdon - Columbia, SC

“My fondest memories from my college days are those with the CC Choir with Guthrie at the helm. I'm grateful I was blessed to have had the opportunity...Read More »
3 of 16 | Posted by: Ann Collum Asbell - Atlanta, GA

“Dear Winona, With special thoughts and deepest sympathy to you and your family, Kathy and I wish you peace and strength in the days to come. Love, ...Read More »
4 of 16 | Posted by: Frits de Jonge - Columbia, SC

“I am greatly saddened by the news of Guthrie's passing and my sympathies go out to the family. I first met Guthrie when we both played in the...Read More »
5 of 16 | Posted by: Caroline Denham Allgrim - SC

“Rest in peace "Daddy Darr" as we affectionately called Mr. Darr during our choir days at Columbia College. We have so many fond memories of Mr. Darr...Read More »
6 of 16 | Posted by: Dr. Jackie and Marsha McKenzie - NC

“Guthrie inroduced me to the game of golf. When I was 9, he brought Paul and me to the driving range at Sedgewick. On one unfortunate stroke, my...Read More »
7 of 16 | Posted by: Daniel Sennema - Myrtle Beach, SC

“Winona and Heidi. Yolanda and I were saddened to learn of Guthrie's passing, and although this is a difficult time for you and the rest of your...Read More »
8 of 16 | Posted by: Tony Ganong - Columbia, SC

“I am so sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful man and a fantastic musician. He will be missed.Sincerely,Natalie Miller ”
9 of 16 | Posted by: Natalie Miller (Pollard) - OH

“Guthrie was such a wonderful musician. I enjoyed being in the USC Faculty woodwind quartet with him (60's), singing in the Choral Society, and Brian...Read More »
10 of 16 | Posted by: Gloria Troublefield Gordon - SC

“It was such a joy to be in the CC choir. He was always so pleasant I was class of 1959 My beat memory of CC was the choir. ”
11 of 16 | Posted by: June Boykin Jackson - Camden, SC

“Mr. Darr was my theory and music history professor at Columbia College. I have such fond memories of him. He was a lot of fun in the classroom....Read More »
12 of 16 | Posted by: Donna Bozard Cox - Columbia, SC

“Heidi, While I never had the pleasure to meet your Father, it is evident he was an amazing, beautiful and well loved person. My thougths and prayers...Read More »
13 of 16 | Posted by: Dolly Patton - Columbia, SC

“Four years of Mr. Darr and the Columbia College choir (class of 1967) inspired - and trained me for - a lifetime of choral singing, for which I will...Read More »
14 of 16 | Posted by: Peggy Reese MacBean - Beaufort, SC

“Guthrie Darr had more influence on who I am today and have been since he was my teacher than anyone other than my family. His love and knowledge of...Read More »
15 of 16 | Posted by: Jennifer "Jeff" Atkinson - NC

“The staff of Dunbar Funeral Home extends sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Guthrie Darr. ”
16 of 16 | Posted by: Joey Tanner - Columbia, SC


COLUMBIA Gilbert Guthrie Darr, age 88, died in his sleep Saturday, July 14, 2012, at his home in Columbia, where he and his wife of 62 years lived, worked and raised their family.
A memorial service to honor his life will be held at 4:00 p.m. Monday, July 23, 2012, at Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine Street, Columbia. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.
Born August 10, 1923 to Vera Campbell and Rev. John Whittier Darr, Guthrie and his three predeceased brothers, George, John, and Bill spent their early years in Claremont, California where Guthrie's musical interests began, playing the clarinet and saxophone in the Claremont High Orchestra.
Guthrie met and fell madly in love with Winona Overin while both were attending Pomona College in Claremont, California. They married in August of 1949 and immediately following their honeymoon, moved east to begin Guthrie's first job and career at Columbia College. Spending 44 years as a Professor of Music, he directed choral choirs as the Chair of the Choral Music Department and taught classes in music history, appreciation, and theory. During his tenure, he rose to the rank of full professor and was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the College. His Columbia College "girls" adored being part of his choral community, despite the intensity of his rigorous demands for perfection. A former student from the class of 1967 – 1972 commented, "Mr. Darr was an artist, an artist with his hands, the most graceful, expressive hands I've ever witnessed. Our voices were the medium he used to create amazing musical images. My eyes never left his hands because they could express anything. He could coach us to do just about anything. I hope that all his choirs loved him as much as we did."
Guthrie was a kind-hearted and gentle soul who might have come across as the absent-minded professor type with his shy, quiet demeanor. However all of that faded away as soon as he took his seat in the director's chair. His choral influence was far reaching. For over 40 years he was also Director of the Chancel Choir at Shandon United Methodist Church as well as conductor of the Columbia Choral Society. During this period he also led the Capital Life Chorale and the Carolina Chorale. He influenced countless lives through his music, propagating the joy he experienced under his mentor Robert Shaw, with whom he sang during his formative years at Pomona and later in New York City.

An accomplished oboist, Guthrie enjoyed being the Principal Oboist in the Columbia Philharmonic Orchestra and delighted in performing as a founding member of the South Carolina Woodwind Quintet.
Guthrie received many awards during his career in music, including the Elizabeth O'Neil Verner Award from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the City of Columbia's prestigious James Y. Perry Lyre Award and the Governor's Award of the Order of the Palmetto.
When Guthrie was not teaching or conducting, he could be found on the golf course enjoying his other life-long passion until he physically was unable to play in his later years. Guthrie's final night was spent like many others in recent years – enjoying a G&T while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy with Nona, followed by a simple supper together, and then tucking themselves into bed for a good night's sleep. Guthrie enjoyed a full, rich life and was thankful for his devoted and loving family.
He is survived by his wife, Winona Elaine; his daughter, Heidi Darr-Hope (Stuart Hope); son, Paul Guthrie (Dawn) of Fairfax, Va.; son, William Matthew (Keith Blincow) of Isle of Palms; grandchildren, Shannon Hope (Gretchen), Erin Hope (fiancé Stephen Marino), Logan Darr and Cameron Darr.
In lieu of flowers, to honor Guthrie contributions may be made to the Columbia College Music Scholarship Fund - Office of Advancement, Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Drive, Columbia, SC 29203.