James Thomas Dickey (Jim), III, 66, of Bowie, Maryland, passed away at his home on March 30th, 2022, surrounded by his wife and children.
Jim was born on June 23, 1955 to James and Geraldine Dickey in Dayton, Ohio, the youngest of three children. He began to play the oboe at an early age and turned it into a lifelong passion. He won a full scholarship to study oboe performance at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, earning a Bachelor then Master of Music degrees. Soon after graduation, he auditioned for and joined the “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C. as an oboist and English horn player. While serving in the Band from 1977-2005 he participated in over 1500 performances at the White House for five Commanders in Chief, performed in countless public concerts for local communities, and played on 17 National concert tours for audiences in various regions of the country, five of which he managed as tour coordinator. During his military career, he also served as oboe section leader, audition supervisor, concert moderator, soloist and chamber music coordinator.
In the late 1970s, Jim met his future wife, Diana Ogilvie, when he contracted her to play French horn in the orchestra of Donezetti’s Elixir of Love for a local opera company. They were married in 1981 and had a rich and fulfilling marriage - a true partnership. Jim was immensely proud of his four children, Gwyneth, Rachael, Thomas, and David. Together they made a tightly knit family who were loyal and appreciative of each other.
Upon retirement from The Marine Band in 2005, he became an adjunct professor at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia, where he played and performed in the faculty woodwind quintet, taught oboe and other music courses. He was dedicated to developing not only his students’ musicianship, but also their character. His integrity, enthusiasm and sense of humor made him a popular mentor among his students.
In addition, he excelled as an orchestra contractor and manager for many local arts organizations including Live Arts Maryland, home of the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Chorus, and for the Columbia Pro Cantare Festival Orchestra. His efforts provided local audiences the opportunity to listen to quality classical music from local musicians.
His embrace of his family and friends was wide and generous, and his ability to connect with people was unparalleled. A friend once said, "he must have lived several lifetimes because of his unique ability to connect with others' lives." You could see him practice this every day in the way he loved and supported his family, friends, and even strangers. He made people feel good about themselves, regardless of how his day was going or what he was feeling inside.
Jim was well-loved in his community. One of his favorite activities was to make an extra dinner casserole and then deliver it to a neighbor in need or sometimes just for the heck of it. He served as Chair of the Derbyshire Homeowners Association Board, providing steady leadership to the neighborhood, forging new friendships and reinforcing old ones as he strived to make improvements in the community. Wherever he was, he cultivated a culture of mutual respect, friendship, and fun while working toward a common goal.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents James and Gerry Dickey. He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Diana Ogilvie; his children Gwyneth Zakaib (husband Charles), Rachael Gilde (husband George), Thomas and David Dickey; his grandchildren Brayden, June, Madelon, Levi, Rhoslyn, and Maisie; sisters Deborah Long (husband Ken) and Martha Dickey (husband David DeLorenzo) and nephew Ian Kirk (wife Joni, children Eli, Noah and Cy).