Cover photo for Frank Joseph Docksey III's Obituary

Frank Joseph Docksey III

July 29, 1947 — December 9, 2023

Frank Joseph Docksey III


Our beloved Joe Docksey, passed away of natural causes, peacefully in his sleep, at his home in Castle Rock, CO, in the early hours of December 9, 2023. His death was unexpected. He was 76 years old.

Joe was a well-known and highly-respected member of the Denver music community. He proudly served as the Director of the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver for 23 years (34 years as a professor) and played an integral role in the creation and building of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. An internationally-acclaimed trumpeter, he travelled throughout the world performing in the Aries Brass Quintet, of which he was a founding member, and was principal trumpeter and musical patriarch of The Denver Brass for 21 years. Joe’s musical leadership set the highest standards for both the Aries Brass Quintet and The Denver Brass, setting them on a path of international success. He also performed professionally with the Denver Chamber Orchestra, Central City Opera Orchestra, Colorado Ballet Orchestra, West Point Military Academy Band, and Fargo-Moorhead Symphony.

Born in Lansing, Michigan in 1947 to parents Frank Joseph Docksey Jr. and Billie Evelyn Ray Docksey, Joe knew by the 4th grade that he would be a trumpet player when he grew up. His early passion for music and the trumpet was to guide him the rest of his life. After high school, he attended Michigan State University where he met Nancy Slavik, who would become his wife of 51 years, and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in 1968. A veteran, Joe served in the Army from July 31, 1969 - June 30, 1972. He was honorably discharged and decorated with the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Joe went on to earn a Master of Arts in Music Performance from the University of Denver in 1974. He then spent three years at North Dakota State University as the Instructor of High Brass and Assistant Director of Bands before moving to Colorado to perform and instruct at the University of Denver ‘s Lamont School of Music in 1977. Throughout his career at DU, he held various positions including: Professor of Trumpet, Conductor of the Lamont Wind Ensemble, Chair of the Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion Department, and Assistant Director, before becoming the Director of the Lamont School of Music in 1988. In 2002 he proudly moved Lamont to its new home in The Newman Center for the Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art music facility that he tirelessly helped to design and build. In 2005, under his leadership, the Lamont School of Music was given the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and in 2007, Joe received the ‘Outstanding Service to the University’ Award from DU. In 2011, after 34 years of dedicated service at DU, Joe retired as the Director of the Lamont School of Music. He was awarded Professor Emeritus status from Lamont in 2013, and in October, 2022, Joe was awarded Principal Trumpet Emeritus status from The Denver Brass. He was excited and honored to be receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Lamont School of Music in December 2023.

Joe left a legacy of over 20 musical recordings, and will forever be remembered for his excellent musicianship, his humanity, and his dedication to everything and everyone he loved. Through his music and teachings, Joe inspired countless people, and he touched just as many hearts with his kindness and generosity. He was more than just an incredible musician, he was also an incredible confidant, mentor, leader, teacher, husband, father, papa and friend. He will be dearly missed by everyone who had the honor of knowing him.

Joe was preceded in death by his father, Frank Joseph Docksey Jr., his mother, Billie (Ray) Docksey, and his older sister, Katherine (Docksey) DeCamp. He is survived by his wife, Nancy (Slavik) Docksey, his children, Sara (Docksey) Johnson, Tracy Docksey, and Frank Joseph Docksey IV, his daughter-in-law, Casey (Parks) Docksey, his son-in-law, Michael Johnson, his grandchildren, Cadence Docksey, Frank Joseph Docksey V, Fiona Johnson, Gavin Johnson, and his younger brother, William Docksey.

His family will forever remember waking up to the sound of trumpet warm-ups, the epic vacations he always planned, his sage advice, his goofy sense of humor, and his love of fishing, all-things-Christmas, red cars, animals, and gadgets of any kind. He cherished spending time with his grandchildren and reveled in their achievements. We, along with his Denver Brass family and his Lamont family, deeply mourn his loss.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 3pm on January 28, 2024 at his beloved Newman Center for Performing Arts, University of Denver.

In lieu of flowers the family kindly requests donations be made to The Denver Brass or the Lamont School of Music as both were very near and dear to his heart. 





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Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Mountain time)

Newman Center for the Performing Arts

2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210

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