Michael McQuerrey 1947-2019 Michael McQuerrey passed away at the age of 71 on January 21, 2019 after being cared for with the help of Optimal Hospice. He was born in Nebraska but spent his youth in Texas, graduating from King High in 1965. He later moved to California for college at the University of the Pacific where his father, Dr. L. H. McQuerrey, was chair of the Music Education Department. He began his studies in applied music (vocal) then switched to music education. He met his wife Susan in a choir class at Pacific, and they married in 1968. Michael went on to pursue his M.A. while Susan finished her teaching credential. He was offered a position as choir director at South High School, so he and Susan moved from Stockton to Bakersfield. Their daughter Tara was born in 1975. In 1977, they moved to Michigan so Michael could pursue his doctorate in music education at the University of Michigan before moving back to Stockton where he spent a year directing the UOP choir before returning to Bakersfield and the Kern High School District.
Michael spent 39 years directing high school choirs at South High, Arvin High, West High, and Liberty High respectively. At 3 of the high schools he also worked on the design/performance of marching band field shows. His many students knew and loved him as “Mr. Mac,” and his choir classes were always full. He was passionate about introducing young people to a variety of excellent choral music, with emphasis on the classical. Many talented accompanists made his job easier. His high school choirs took many tours, including one to Carnegie Hall. Michael also spent several years directing the choir at First United Methodist Church and the Masterworks Chorale. The Masterworks singers also traveled to perform in several European countries. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation and Teacher of the Year by the Jim Burke Education Foundation in 2007.
Michael’s pastimes included running and birdwatching. He was an early editor of the Bakersfield Track Club newsletter and enjoyed running various distances, including 12 marathons. He did extensive birdwatching in California, Arizona, and Texas.
He is survived by his wife Susan and his daughter Tara Haner (spouse Scott) and his 4 grandchildren: Kya, Wyatt, Caden, and Addelyn. Other family members include his sisters Tara Hagen (of Clovis), Erin Wolf (of Stockton), and brother J. Mark McQuerrey (of New York). Final service will be held on Saturday, February 2nd at the Bridge Bible Church, 12225 Stockdale Hwy, at 1:30 p.m. Donations can be made to Optimal Hospice or the Kern Audubon Society.