Philip H. Bley Jr., age 69, of Eden, New York died September 4, 2020. He was born in Schenectady, NY, son of the late Philip and Ruth Bley. He was the former husband of Diana Bley, the brother of James (Gail) Bley, father of Colleen (Bryan) Roof, Jonathan (Jennifer) Bley and Colin Bley. He was the grandfather of Nathan, Eric and Daniel Roof, and Nicholas and Christopher Bley.
Phil was a graduate of Kenmore West High School. He earned a bachelor's degree at Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and a master's degree in music education at SUNY Fredonia.
He started his career as a tractor trailer driver. He enjoyed this work and returned to it at various points in his career. Phil co-owned Westgate Market in Kenmore for a time and managed other convenience stores around the city of Buffalo. He went on to become the education coordinator, then personnel manager of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and he served as band director at Gowanda High School, although he was most proud of his students at Matt's Music, where he taught for nearly 30 years and inspired students of all ages, as well as many future teachers, with his thoughtful guidance.
Music was his life's passion, and he was always eager to help others, sharing his knowledge and talent whenever he could. Although primarily a clarinet player, he played all woodwind and brass instruments, as well as strings. As a teenager, he joined the Tonawanda Legion Band Post 264 and after college he directed the Canisius College Jazz Band. Over the decades, he played with countless other bands, jazz bands, and orchestras, including the Boston Town Band, Hamburg Village Band, Pyramid Jazz Band, Dick Myrtle Big Band, and the Bergholz German Band.
He was a member of Delta Kappa Theta fraternity and a long-time member of the Local 92 Musicians Union.
A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, September 10, 2020 from 4-7 p.m. at the Laing Funeral Home, 2724 W. Church St. Eden, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Matt’s Music, in care of the Phil Bley Music Education Memorial Scholarship Fund, 937 Oliver St, N. Tonawanda, NY 14120 or via GoFundMe at https://gf.me/u/yxd7sw
Stories and remembrances may be shared on www.LaingFuneralHome.com