University of North Texas

Former UNT Professor, Renowned Trumpeter Dies of COVID-19

Memorial services will be scheduled for a later date at St. Barnabas Episcopal

keith johnson
NBC 5 News/UNT

A former University of North Texas professor died late last month after contracting COVID-19, his family says.

Keith Johnson, a retired Emeritus Regents Professor of Trumpet at UNT's College of Music and a renowned trumpeter who performed with the Dallas Opera, the Fort Worth Symphony and other orchestras across the United States. He taught at the university from 1986 to 2014 and received the Distinguished Teaching Professor Award in 2011.

Johnson retired in 2014, his family said.. A year later he was diagnosed with dementia and was later cared for at the Eagle Ridge Alzheimer's Special Care Center. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 at Denton Regional and later moved to the ICU where he died.

Johnson's wife of 50 years, Cecile LeBlanc Johnson, said "it has been a long goodbye" to her husband.

She said they met at music festival in New Hampshire when he was a musician and she was a chambermaid at the hotel where the musicians were staying.

Over the years Johnson authored two books, "The Art of Trumpet Playing" and "Brass Performance and Pedagogy." In 2012, he won the Award of Merit from the International Trumpet Guild for his service to the trumpet profession, and in 2013, was given a Distinguished Service Aware by the New Hampshire Music Festival for his 50 years as a co-principal trumpet.

Johnson was born in Center, Texas in August 1942. He is survived by his two brothers and their families, his daughter Andrea Johnson Bustos, son Stephen Johnson, beloved granddaughter Victoria and a number of nieces and nephews.

A memorial service at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church will be scheduled at a later date. Online condolences can be left here.

Donations can be made to The Keith Johnson Trumpet Graduate Scholarship Endowment Fund; the New Hampshire Music Festival or the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.

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