William Elwin Moreland
The younger son of Cicero and Geneva Flannery Moreland, Bill was born December 18, 1926, in Kansas City, Missouri. He grew up near 66th and Prospect, attended Blenheim Elementary and graduated from Southeast High School in 1944. Prior to this eighteenth birthday Bill enlisted in the Army. In 1945 he was on a ship in the Pacific bound for the invasion of Japan when President Truman bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thus, as Bill saw it, instead of dying on a Japanese beach along with a million other doomed soldiers, he served in the occupation of Japan.
Upon his discharge from the Army, Bill studied music in California. He was captivated by “big band” music and jazz. He became an accomplished percussionist, playing drums and vibraharp. He played in traveling bands, working across the country for several years before settling back in Kansas City. Bill played professionally well into his 80’s and taught drums for many years, writing and publishing his own series of instructional booklets. He was a long-time member of American Federation of Musicians Local 34-627.
In 1964 Bill married Dixie Titus and became step-father to her three children: Linda Garland of Kansas City, Trubie Bailey of Raytown and Monte Titus of Dallas. Until the end Bill looked back on his years with Dixie and her family as his best and blamed himself for failure of the marriage. More happily, all maintained an amicable relationship for the rest of his life.
For the next 50 years Bill lived a bachelor’s existence in the little house he bought in the East Side of old Kansas City. He played his music, painted pictures and portraits, loved his dogs, exercised and listened to jazz everyday and got excited watching the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. Although he outlived all of his musician buddies, Bill remained independent, was happy in his home and wanted to die there. He almost made it. He died peacefully on September 9, aged 95, at Veterans Hospital in Kansas City where he was treated like a hero.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, his brother C.B. Moreland,, Jr., beloved nieces Ann Moreland Forsee and Virginia Moreland Hunt, and great nephew Joseph L. Moreland. He is survived by his devoted nephew Joseph W. Moreland and wife Cindy, niece Ruthie Moreland Schmidt and husband Vincent, eight great nieces and nephews and sixteen great-great nieces and nephews.
The family is grateful to Nurse Katy in the PCU at VA Hospital for her competence, compassion and good humor in making Bill’s last days as pleasant as possible. He passed away September 9, 2022.
A gathering of family and friends will be 2-3PM, with military honors to follow at 3PM, Saturday, October 1 at Park Lawn Funeral Home, 8251 Hillcrest Rd., Kansas City, Missouri; private burial in Green Lawn Cemetery.Service Information:
A gathering of family and friends will be 2-3PM, with military honors to follow at 3PM, Saturday, October 1 at Park Lawn Funeral Home, 8251 Hillcrest Rd., Kansas City, Missouri; private burial in Green Lawn Cemetery.