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Jay C. Covington, 83

Jay C. Covington, age 83, of New Richmond, died at home Friday, Jan. 17. Jay was - as he liked to say - "83-and-a-half years old," married to his lovely bride, Ernestine, for 57 years. His death from congestive heart failure was a peaceful home-going.

Covington was born Feb. 10, 1930, in San Angelo, Texas, to Jewel and Mary Gilliland Covington.

Covington began playing euphonium at the age of 11. At North Texas State University, he was a member of the One O-Clock Lab Band and toured with five bands and orchestras. In spring 1951, he developed mumps, had to drop out of school, and lost the student exemption which had, to that time, kept Covington out of the Korean War.

Covington auditioned for Instructor at the U. S. Navy School of Music and was accepted just as his draft number came up. From 1951 to '55 he served as low brass instructor and as guest soloist in venues such as the Presidential Regatta on the Potomac River, and Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Covington returned to NTSU, graduating in 1956 with a B. S. in accounting. In June of 1956, Covington married Ernestine Etheredge of Sweetwater, Texas. From 1956 to 65 the euphonium was laid aside while the couple began a family - daughter Christine, born in 1958, and son Arnold Jay, born in 1962. Though accounting was his day job, music was Covington's passion. From 1965, he served as interim music director for a succession of churches and played gigs in bands and pit orchestras throughout the Dallas area.

In 1996, Covington retired, he and Ernestine sold their home and became full time RVers. Covington continued to perform in community bands and led worship in U. S. national parks. In 2007, the couple took up residence with their daughter in New Richmond, Wis. Covington continued to play during church worship services, and with the UW-River Falls University and area community bands, for local community events, and in nursing homes, often accompanied by Mrs. Sue Christian of Hudson.

The youngest of four children, Covington is survived by his wife, Ernestine; two children; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren

Covington was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, John and Jerry; and a sister, June.

The family appreciates the loving medical care of Dr. Beth Adams (Stillwater Medical Group), and by hospice nurse Jan Arkell. They also deeply appreciate the loving support of their friends and family at First Baptist Church.

The Covington family requests memorial donations be sent to the Gideons International, (615.564.5000, Samaritan's Purse (828.262.1980,, or Wycliffe Bible Translators (407.852.3600,

Visitation will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, at First Baptist Church of New Richmond (715.246.2700, from 4-7 p.m. Services will follow, Pastor Kevin Morris officiates. Private burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Preparations were coordinated by OConnell Funeral Home, Hudson, (715)386-3725.

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