Ervin Kleffman Dies; Composer of Band Music

Times Staff Writer

An Alhambra composer whose music is played by marching bands throughout the world, Ervin H. Kleffman, has died at 95.

Kleffman, who taught music lessons until last February, died April 2 at a San Gabriel convalescent home.

He is best known for his marching band compositions, including "Salute to Peace" and "China Clipper," which are played regularly by students throughout the country and by military and civic bands in Europe, Latin America and the Far East.

Locally, Kleffman is remembered by the thousands of students who went to the spare bedroom that served as his music studio for 46 years. For $4 for half an hour, he gave intensive lessons to the 40 or 50 proteges he saw each week, often extending the session by an hour, until he was satisfied his student had mastered a particular technique.

"He's just been 'music' ever since we were married," said his wife, Alfreda, 90, whom he married in 1917. "That was his life."

Sousa Band

Kleffman was born in Dorchester, Wisc., and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music at Vandercook College in Chicago. He taught at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and the Chicago Conservatory of Music, where his students included members of the famed John Philip Sousa band.

In 1940, he received a doctorate in philosophy at the now-defunct Emerson University in Los Angeles and, in 1946, formed the San Gabriel Symphony Orchestra.

Kleffman, whose primary instruments were trumpet and violin, is also survived by a daughter, Jean Stuckey of Hemet.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Turner and Stevens Mortuary in Alhambra.

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