Music 03

Roye E Wates

November 21, 1933 ~ March 10, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Wates, Roye E., 89, of Brookline, retired professor of music at Boston University, died of pancreatic cancer on March 10, 2023. She was the sister of the late Rev. Dr. Florence W. Pert of New York and the daughter of the late Mr. Roy and Mrs. Pearle Wates of Birmingham, AL. Mrs. Pearle Wates, a nationally known speaker and adviser to Wendell Willkie in 1940 and later to Dwight Eisenhower, worked tirelessly against racism in Birmingham during the 1930s and ’40s. Later she served as Co-Director of Civil Defense for the 13 Southern States and as Director of the Alabama Heart Association, raising in her first year seven times the amount raised by any predecessor. Mrs. Wates also taught Adult Bible Class every Sunday at Birmingham’s First Methodist Church.

Prof. Wates’s older sister, Rev. Dr. Pert, was the first woman ordained in the 360-year history of the Collegiate Churches of New York and the first woman to preach from the pulpit of Marble Collegiate Church. Its minister, Norman Vincent Peale, named her Director of Lay Activities, where she created a host of activities still in place today, including small groups, adult education, women’s groups, programs for ushers, greeters, and new members. Dr. Pert’s ministry centered on increasing the role of laity and especially of women. As a board member of the ecumenical ministry Faith@Work, she spearheaded a national effort to foster leadership positions for women in ministry and in lay activities. Through workshops around the country under the auspices of Dr. Peale’s School of Practical Christianity, she and others trained hundreds of clergy in spiritual renewal.

Roye Wates attended Birmingham-Southern College (B.A., English, 1954) and Yale University (Ph.D., History of Music, 1965). At Boston University she first taught in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of General Education (the University’s original core curriculum) from 1962–1975, was then named a University Professor (1975–1978), Chairman of Religion and the Arts in the Division of Theological and Religious Studies (1976–1982), and professor of music in the College of Arts and Sciences until her retirement in 2015. She was named Boston University’s Teacher-Scholar of the Year in 2000.  A founding member of the Mozart Society of America, where she served on the board of directors from 2009 until 2015, she was the author of “Mozart: An Introduction to the Music, the Man, and the Myths” (2010).

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 10 o’clock at Trinity Church, 206 Clarendon St., Copley Square, Boston, with interment at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, AL., in the spring. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Trinity Church, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, or BostonBaroque.  For guestbook please visit



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