A Tribute to Tim McCollum

A prominent member of the Marshfield music community has passed away, leaving behind an inspiring legacy.

Timothy McCollum taught thousands of budding musicians as orchestra director at Marshfield High School and as string instructor at various elementary schools during a career that spanned 36 years.

Passionate about music, he was an active conductor and performer himself, able to move a crowd to tears with a beautiful violin solo. He was concertmaster from 1974 up until last October of the Marshfield-Wood County Symphony and conducted the orchestra from 2000-2008. Additionally, he was associate concertmaster for 34 years of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra in Stevens Point, and from 1978-1979 conducted the Wausau Civic Symphony.

(Vive La France concert in May 2016, with solo by Tim McCollum. Video provided by Kristin Hughes.)

Tim passed away on March 7, 2019, survived by his wife of 46 years, Pamela, daughter, Emily Leggin, son, Andrew McCollum, granddaughters, Hannah, Courtney, and Zoë Leggin, sister Kristi (George) McCollum Price, nephew Kendall Babl, many friends, and his beloved cats, Largo, Scherzo, and Mara.

He was born April 21, 1948 to Mary and John McCollum in Coalinga, California and moved to New York at 3 years old. His family then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan before his sophomore year of high school, graduating in 1966.

He pursued a string education major at the University of Michigan School of Music and received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Education degrees. Upon graduating in 1971, Tim enlisted in the United States Army, serving three years as a Bandman at West Point, and married the love of his life, Pamela Swartz, on June 10, 1972. His teaching career began in 1974.

Memorials may be sent to Marshfield Clinic Cancer Care Fund for Clinical Research in care of MCHS Foundation at 1000 N. Oak Ave., Marshfield, WI 54449 in the memory of Timothy McCollum.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Faith Lutheran Church. The family will receive condolences one hour before the service. Tim will later be interred at Arbor Crest Memorial Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Mr. Mac” to his students, Tim inspired many who passed through his classroom to find their own love for music and made an equal impression on his colleagues who shared his passion. In their own words, each shares the impact he made on them:

Ann Stevning-Roe, friend
I first got to know Timothy McCollum as concertmaster for orchestras accompanying Central Chamber Chorale. Then, I sang with the combined choirs from the UW-Marshfield /Wood County, Community Singers, and Marshfield High School Concert Choir for Timothy McCollum’s conducting of Carmina Burana.

Tim brought such enthusiasm to the performance that I was concerned he was going to step backward from the podium in excitement.

When my older son Andrew was in fourth grade and had the opportunity to participate in orchestra, the musicality of Tim performing for the students made Andrew excited to participate in orchestra. Both of my sons played in orchestra with Timothy McCollum or his wife Pam for eight to nine years.

Teenagers stay with a program like orchestra not just because they love music, but because they are inspired by the teachers. Tim had a good sense of humor and was a fun person with whom to perform. He was in orchestras with summer musicals that I was involved in as well as campus orchestra/ choir collaborations and Central Chamber Chorale. He will be missed as a friend and a pillar of the music community of Central Wisconsin.

Kailey (Holloway) Alvarado, former student
After all of junior high and high school taking weekly violin lessons with Mr. Mac (all summer too, I really wanted to impress him), he became one of the dearest people in my life. Our conversations would usually go way over our lesson time, and often they would stray to things other than technique and composers. Mr. Mac taught me how to love everything about the violin and the music it can make.

After I left for college, I would come over to catch up with Mr. and Mrs. Mac, Mr. Mac always meeting me at the door with a kiss on the cheek. He always wanted to know everything about school, not just the music stuff. There are so many precious memories here.

Shanna Berry, former student
Mr. McCollum was one of my favorite teachers in high school. He was always so encouraging and had a great smile. His love for music was infectious.

Andrew Stevning-Roe, former student
He’s honestly an inspiration. The amount of passion that man had for music is something to strive for. He will be missed by the many he taught. He was loved. He was honestly the best violinist and made the instrument sing.

Thomas Stevning-Roe, former student
As a student of his, I would sometimes forget how spectacular of a musician he was. Then, when I would see him play in the CWSO or other various groups he was concertmaster for, I would be stunned that was my teacher up there.

He was a concertmaster, a brilliant teacher and an inspiring role model. He was such a great person and a teacher for both Andrew and I for a long time. He is one of the reasons I am a music teacher today.

Niki Danou, former student
What a kind, caring, fun man Mr. McCollum was. I have many fond memories of early morning orchestra rehearsals. I also recall loving the fact that orchestra became my homeroom for junior and senior years. Why? Because I was ALWAYS running late, yet Mr. McCollum never marked me tardy! He will be missed, but will never be forgotten by all those whose lives he touched through music and a genuine passion for working with students.

Personally, I will never forget our concert at MHS where we weren’t quite ready to perform “Fanfare of the Common Man.” But, alas, the programs had already been printed. So at some point during our horrible rendition of the song, Mr. McCollum yelled out to all of us, “Measure 17! Measure 17!” Then we all went to that measure and finished the song. He got us back on track and the rest of our concert was lovely!

Jaime (Adler) Karl, former student
Mr. McCollum was a definite light during my high school career. Between Orchestra and Band, he was a constant uplifting presence in my day. His office was always open and he always had a smile on his face. This world is a little less cheery with him gone. Love and peace to his family. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.