Clinton’s child prodigy of music, Marjorie Meinert, has passed from the scene. She died in Bettendorf Aug. 29.

Meinert was practicing the piano daily when she was 3 years old right after her nap. She went on to a stellar career in music, most notably at WOC radio and TV in Davenport.

She graduated from Clinton High School in 1939, where in her junior year she wrote the alma mater, or loyalty. In 1972, the school had a special day for her.

All of us remember watching special “in house” programs, starring Meinert, from the television station and perhaps the most famous was “Trip the Trio” with George Sontag and Warren Vassen. It was a must see program for the songs we sent in and the humorous banter.

Many from the class of 1939 remember her including Jane Shaw and Sam and Evelyn McKenrick.

Meinert lived in Clinton at 633 Third Ave. South and was the daughter of Albert and Gertrude Meinert and had a brother Howard. She attended the Sherwood School of Music at 14 years old and graduated from the Dubuque University Academy of Music.

She was in the ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame. She also studied under Sue Bower, F.E. Schoenbohm and Lou Webb of NBC. She was on the original staff of KROS radio and then moved to Davenport in 1949.

In 1949, Marjorie married Dr. Charles Flynn and after his death she married Eugene Belles in 1972. In later years she had a “long gig” at Jumers, playing cocktail music.

Clinton ladies Jane Shaw and Doris Halsrud remember seeing her there and visiting, since Halsrud worked with her at KROS.

Meinert was professionally associated with many big names in the music business including Kate Smith, Vaughn Monroe, Arthur Godfrey, Lawrence Welk, Alvino Ray, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians to mention just a few. She had a special honor to play at the Lincoln Sesquicentennial in Washington, D.C. and she recorded 10 singles and 17 albums for national recording studios. Meinert was the first woman to record special calliope music.

Meinert was well known for her rendition of the “Flight of the Bumblebee” which she “played like a maniac.” She wrote and recorded such favorites as “Dream and Awakening,” “Electronic Boogie” and “The New Life Mass.” At WOC she worked with and was a friend of people such as “Captain Ernie” Mims, Russ Wingo and Pat Sundine.

And so Clinton honors one of its great artists, Meinert who made us proud with her prodigious work in the musical field. She never forgot her roots and visited often and spoke with many of her Clinton friends over the years. She was known not only as a fine musician, but as an excellent and charming person.



Gary Herrity is the Clinton Herald’s historical columnist. His column appears on page 5A on Fridays.

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