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Greensburg piper founded band, taught others to play

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, June 7, 2007 12:00 a.m

To John Duxbury, a founder and member of the Laurel Highlanders Bagpipe Band, piping was life.

Veteran piper and teacher George Balderose said his colleague was not only an excellent piper and teacher but also an open and generous man who taught a lot of people for free.

John W. Duxbury, of Greensburg, owner of John’s Gold ‘n’ Silver in Greensburg, died of a heart attack on Monday, June 4, 2007, while working in his store. He was 65.

“Piping is a discipline that dates back to medieval times in Scotland and Ireland,” Balderose said. “It is a discipline that requires hours and hours of practice. George had the passion and the discipline to be a piper. And he was always willing to reach out to others who wanted to follow as pipers.

“His Laurel Highlanders were a band to contend with during piping competitions, especially during the Highland Games,” Balderose said.

“Dad showed very little interest in piping when he was in school,” said Mr. Duxbury’s daughter, Linda Carpellotti. “It wasn’t until he married my mother in 1965 that he began to show interest. To encourage Dad, my mother purchased a chanter for him. It’s an instrument you learn to play before you go on to a bagpipe.

“Once Dad managed the chanter, he began to take piping lessons from Jim Wadrobe and joined the Douglas Bagpipe Band and participated in tours throughout the United States and Canada. He also began to teach. The mentoring was in our home in Greensburg.

“Dad loved what he was doing,” said his daughter, adding that he often performed at schools and art festivals.

Carpellotti said her mother, who had met Mr. Duxbury during a young adult social at a Methodist Church in Wilkinsburg, soon began performing with her husband on the drums.

“When I was a student at Slippery Rock State University, I had the opportunity to take a summer class in Scotland, which gave me the opportunity to participate in several Scottish dances,” she said. “My wedding was also one of tradition. A piper piped me down the aisle and everyone in the wedding party wore kilts.

“As much as Dad would’ve loved to visit and play his pipes in Scotland, he never wanted to get on an airplane.”

Mr. Duxbury is survived by a daughter, Linda Carpellotti, of Greensburg; his father, John W. Duxbury Sr., of Wilkinsburg; two grandchildren, Lindsay and Taylor Carpellotti; and a brother, Mark Duxbury, of Cleveland.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Melda Lee Scott Duxbury, in 2001.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Vaia Funeral Home Inc., 463 Athena Drive, Delmont, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, with the Rev. Chuck MacPherson of the First Presbyterian Church of Murrysville officiating.

Interment will follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont.

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