Jack Moelmann, 80, of O’Fallon, IL, passed away peacefully on Thursday,
December 30, 2021, at Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh, IL. Jack was
born on April 2, 1941, in Oak Park, Illinois, and has been a resident
of O’Fallon, IL since 1986.
In 1965, he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley
University in Peoria, IL. He then received a commission as a 2nd
Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and rose to the rank of Colonel at the
time of his retirement in1991. His medals included the Air Force
Commendation Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the
Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit.
In addition to Jack's Air Force career, he also had a career in music,
particularly playing the organ. Jack started in music (with the piano
and as soloist in the church choir) at age 8, and had pursued this
avocation ever since. His main interests were classical, theatre, and
popular stylings on both the organ and the piano. Jack had been a
member of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) since 1967, served
on their Board of Directors in one capacity or another continuously for
23 years (1983-2006), chaired several committees, and was the President
of ATOS from 1985 until 1988. He was also the ATOS Secretary
He was elected as ATOS Honorary Lifetime Member in May 1994 and
inducted into the ATOS Hall of Fame in July 2008. In 2018, he was named
the ATOS Organist of the Year.
He also served as the Executive Director of the Theatre Organ Society
International (TOSI). In August 2008, he was inducted into the TOSI
Hall of Fame. In July 2009, he was appointed a Staff Organist at the
Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri; served as a volunteer
organist at the Lincoln Theatre in Belleville, Illinois; and has been
the organist at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in O’Fallon since 2001.
During high school and college, he was always in demand to perform on
the organ or piano at social functions, as well as concerts in
local churches, auditoriums, and theatres. In 1960, he went on a family
tour of Europe during which time he was able to play at such famed
places as Westminster Abbey in London and the Pantheon in Rome.
Jack became the 2nd military person to perform in concert at the Chapel
of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 1972.
He has performed and given concerts in many of the famous movie palaces
and auditoriums across the country. He has been featured on the TV
programs “CBS Evening News” with Walter Cronkite and “Good Morning
America”, St. Louis television news programs, as well as many other
television and radio programs in support of the American Theatre Organ
Society, the theatre organ, and its music.
In August, 2008, he was the featured performer at an organ concert held
at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The concert and his
performance were headlined in the New York Times, New York Post, CBS
Evening News and covered in several hundred other news medias around
In 2015 and 2017 he performed at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis,
putting on a musical event featuring its Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe
Organ. He also served as staff organist at the St. Louis Fox Theatre as
well as the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Belleville, Illinois. He was
also organist at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, O’Fallon, Illinois.
He has appeared with Bob Ralston of Lawrence Welk fame in Omaha,
Chicago, and Meridian, Mississippi, and performed on the mammoth
Kimball Concert Organ in the St. Louis Scottish Rite. He has also
performed at the famed Byrd Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, the Redford
and Senate Theatres in Detroit, and played at the Arcada Theatre, St.
Charles, Illinois. In May 1991, he rededicated the Grand Barton Theatre
Pipe Organ (originally from the Orpheum Theatre) in the Springfield,
Illinois. In October, 1992, he made his second appearance playing
with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra on the Omaha Orpheum Theatre's
Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ during their Halloween Pops Concert
Series, his first appearance being during the Christmas Concert Series
in 1988. In November 1992, he had the honor of doing the first concerts
for the official unveiling of the American Theatre Organ Society
Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ installed in the Towe Ford Museum in
Sacramento, California. In December 1992, 1993, and 1994, he performed
Christmas Concerts at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, Illinois, on its
Grande Barton organ.
Jack had combined his musical interest and electrical engineering
background to put together an elaborate theatre organ instrument (both
electronic and pipe) in his home in O'Fallon, Illinois. He frequently
entertained groups in his home from around the St. Louis area and
He would be found at many of the American Theatre Organ Society Annual
and Regional Conventions, not only as an attendee but, on several
occasions, as the Master of Ceremonies or as an artist at the various
jam sessions. He is an Honorary Lifetime member of the River City
(Omaha, Nebraska) ATOS Chapter and a Life Member of the St. Louis
Theatre Organ Society. Locally he is a lifetime member of the O’Fallon
Historical Society and has served on their Board of Directors and
served as Treasurer. He has been listed in Who's Who, the Dictionary of
International Biography, and Notable Americans.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; John Matthew and Harriet
Moelmann (nee Bannatyne). Jack is survived by his brother,
Lawrence “Larry” Moelmann (Colleen) of Glen Ellyn, IL; by his sister,
Lynda Shearin (Peter); his nephews, Michael Moelmann and Connor
Moelmann; and his niece, Vicki Pullara.
A Memorial Service will be held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 111
O’Fallon Troy Rd., O’Fallon, IL, on April 2, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.schildknechtfh.com, and memorials may be made to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.