Edward T. Cone died this morning in Princeton, New Jersey. He was 87.
Edward was the last surviving member of his generation -- my grandfather's generation -- and with him dies a real part of our family history. He was, by some measures, the last interesting Cone, the bridge between the glamorous generations past and the regular lives we all lead today.
For all his accomplishments and his fierce intellect, he was a kind and gentle person. My favorite memories of him include a double date to the Metropolitan Opera -- he escorted my mother on the first night that she met my future wife -- and a birthday party in New York where he and his two namesakes (my cousin Ed, then a babe-in-arms, and me) posed for a trans-generational photograph.
Here's a draft of an obit I've written for the Greensboro paper:
Princeton, New Jersey -- Edward Toner Cone, 87, died Saturday, October 23, 2004.
Edward Cone was a composer, pianist, author, and teacher. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a professor of music at Princeton University, where he joined the faculty in 1947 and taught music theory, history and composition until transferring to emeritus status in 1985. He also served for several years as Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. His compositions include a symphony, along with works for piano, voice, chorus, orchestra and chamber combinations. His scholarly work included several books, among them Musical Form and Musical Performance (1968), The Composer's Voice (1974), and Music: A View from Delft (1989).
Edward Cone was born in Greensboro on May 4, 1917, to Julius W. Cone and Laura Weill Cone. He graduated from The Riverdale School in New York and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Princeton.
In 2004, Princeton awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, at which time the University released a statement calling him an "ideal embodiment of composer, performer, teacher and scholar... The knowing beauty of his compositions, the graceful power of his piano playing and the inviting elegance of his critical essays teach us to think well of music's place in human affairs -- his genial voice remains the melody so many of us hear when we ponder music."
He was a generous patron of the arts in Greensboro, Baltimore,and beyond. Edward was loved by his friends and family for his sharp wit and expansive intellect, and for his warmth and kindness.
Edward Cone is survived by his longtime partner, George Pitcher; nieces, Jane Levy of Greensboro and Laura Freedlander of Baltimore; nephew, F. Sands Hetherington, III of Greensboro; and his loving great-nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for family and friends in Greensboro is planned for a later date.