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Remembering Jon Woods ’60 and Jack Reefer ’69 through Past Stories

This fall, IUP lost two prominent alumni from the 1960s, both of them previously featured in IUP Magazine. Jon Woods ’60, longtime Ohio State University band director, and Jack Reefer ’69, recognized by voice if not by name as one IUP’s most ardent sports fans, both died in September.

Jon Woods

Jon Woods conducting (Photo courtesy of Ohio State University)

The subject of “ Not Your Typical Big Band,” from the Fall 2003 issue of IUP Magazine, Jon Woods was associated with the Ohio State Marching Band for 37 years and served as its director for nearly three-quarters of that time. A native of Spangler, now Northern Cambria, he worked summers with his hometown high school’s marching band while attending Indiana State Teachers College. By his senior year, he was running the band full-time. Jon worked with other bands as he pursued his master’s degree at Penn State and his doctorate at the University of Michigan. In 1974, he took a job with the band that, thanks to legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, would become known as the “best damn band in the land,” or TBDBITL, under Jon’s leadership. A 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, Jon retired from Ohio State the same year.

Jack Reefer

Jack Reefer working the concession stand at an IUP camp in Memorial Field House (Photo courtesy of Jayne Cuddy Clawson)

Featured in the story “ Super Superfans” from the Summer 1995 magazine, Jack Reefer may be best known by fellow alumni for the deep, booming “I-U-P” he called out at sporting events. Employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in Harrisburg for 38 years, Jack thought nothing of making 360-mile round-trips to attend IUP football and basketball home games and traveled even farther for playoff games. For years, he boasted perfect attendance at football games and once braved icy roads for seven hours—twice the normal driving time—to attend an IUP holiday basketball tournament. Jack was equally generous in his financial support of IUP causes, giving to the marching band, organ studies, and IUP-TV in addition to athletic programs. He also established a football scholarship in memory of his parents, Jack and Dorothy Reefer. Born in Delaware County and raised in the Beechview section of Pittsburgh, Jack moved back to Indiana after retiring from PennDOT in 2008.