William "Bill" Archer

William Archer

William “Bill” Howard Archer, Jr., was born eldest of two children to the late William Howard Archer and Leola B. (Holmes) Archer on July 22, 1940, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Following graduation from Affton High School in 1958, Bill earned advanced degrees in music at Illinois Wesleyan University and undertook doctoral work at the University of Illinois and Washington University. Bill’s extensive musical career, spanning more than 40 years, included teaching, conducting, composing and performing music across the United States and Western Europe.

A dedicated educator from the elementary school to the university level, Bill held teaching positions at numerous area institutions including Sparlan Illinois School District, Affton School District, Mehlville School District, Washington University, East Central College and Fontbonne University, where he served as Director of Jazz Studies and Instrumental Music Activities.

Bill’s professional performing credits include: innumerable appearances as a jazz soloist, lead alto saxophonist, clarinetist, and flautist; guest solo appearances in colleges and universities; soloist/clinician appearances at music educators’ conventions; solo appearances with the St. Louis Symphony “Pops” Orchestra and the Mighty Mississippi Concert Band; playing engagements with the Glen Miller Orchestra, the Tex Benecke Orchestra, the Woody Herman Thundering Herd, the Lee Hyde Orchestra, the Russ David Orchestra, Bob Crosby and the Bobcats, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Al Pierson’s Big Band U.S.A., Sammy Davis, Jr., George Kirby, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra, Suzanne Sommers, and Danny Thomas.

In addition to teaching and performing, Bill: served as principal arranger for St. Louis’ only professional concert band, The Mighty Mississippi Concert Band, composed and arranged on commission, for publication and for commercial recording sessions; presented woodwind and improvisation clinics for Selmer Musical Instruments, Inc.; acted as contractor-performer for the St. Louis Saxophone Quartet; and adjudicated high school and college music festivals.

Bill leaves behind his loving wife of 19 years, Evelyn, with whom he shared his love of music. Bill and Evelyn married on June 18, 1988 and resided in St. Louis. A devoted and happy couple, they enjoyed performing together in many area venues, traveling the United States and sharing the company of close friends.

Bill is also survived by his mother, Leola B. (Holmes) Archer; sister, Suzanne L. Gill and husband Allen; daughters Melody and Merrily; nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.


  1. Ken and Mary Kling on June 1, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Our thoughts and prayers reach out to Evie, who we regard as a true saint. Memories of Bill are etched in our hearts forever. He was a kind person and a great friend who will be missed.

  2. Barbara and Jahn Wright on June 5, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    We send our love to Evelyn. Bill is at peace and Evelyn was his saint, as he is now her angel. We remember the good times and the humor and the Christmas letters and the music and we remember he was a good man!

  3. Jim Judlin on June 6, 2008 at 9:08 am

    My dear cousin Bill and I spent early childhood time together and shared lots of fun times at the Holmes house and in Afton. I have several tape recordings that I will cherish and will use them to tell my children about him. Rest easy my cousin, my friend.

    Jim Judlin

  4. Donna Buehne on June 11, 2008 at 10:17 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s family. He was the most colorful and exciting teacher in my life. I was proud to be his friend. I know that he is counting off a chart right now in heaven. Thank you, Dr. Archer

  5. Barbara & Bob Via on June 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Sorry to hear of our former ex-brother in law’s passing. We have memories of our boys, and his girls in their early childhood. Those memories we cherish. Although we had lost contact over the years, we often wondered where and what he was doing. He is at Peace now.

  6. Lesa M. Hall on June 26, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Bill Archer was my first flute instructor. His teaching technique was superb in terms of helping me to hone my skills, and his friendly persona and encouragement made it easier for me to facillitate the playing of a most beautiful instrument. Bill made the Fontbonne Jazz Ensemble an educational and fun source for honing my jazz techniques.

  7. Travis Mcleod on March 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    My deepest condolences to the family. He was my 6th 7th and 8th grade band teacher. He taught me to play the flute and he was a very dedicated, admirable, and amazing teacher. His chemistry with the class was electric. This is an example of his legacy that I thought about him and looked him up on Google to see if I could possibly visit him if he’s still teaching. I’m so sad to find out be has passed. He was the best music teacher I ever had. It was oakville Jr high school where I got to learn under his direction. R. I. P.

  8. Melissa Smith on October 19, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Like Travis above, I attended Oakville Junior High. I might be remembered under the name Melissa Parmeley.

    Both Bill and Evelyn took me under their wing and really taught me about music. Knowing I had a rough childhood, they did all they could to help me possibly get scholarships to college.

    I am so sorry to hear that he passed, and so young as well. I am a testament to his legacy, as I still think of him as my music teacher and guide.

    You will be missed, Dr. Archer.

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