Cover photo for Alton Polk's Obituary
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1929 Alton 2024

Alton Polk

September 15, 1929 — March 21, 2024

Mr. Alton Preston Polk, Jr., peacefully went home to be with Jesus on March 21, 2024, at the age of 94. Alton was born to Alton Preston Polk, Sr. and Lila Lillian Popham Polk in Lufkin, Texas on September 15, 1929.

He grew up in Jacksonville, Texas, and it was there that he discovered a love of flying and music. Alton would trade work at the airport fueling airplanes and doing odd jobs such as painting tail numbers on airplanes for flying time and pilot training. He flied solo at the age of 14. But soon music would steal his attention when the family saxophone became his. By the time Alton was ready to graduate from Jacksonville High School, he acted as the assistant director of the band.

Alton's formal music education began when he entered East Texas State Teachers College on a scholarship using that same saxophone. A better scholarship followed, and he received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and later his Master of Education Degree from the same institution. Teaching band at Carlisle High School in Price, Texas was Alton's first teaching position from 1952-54. His band received four first-division wins in UIL competitions. He was equally successful at his second director's position at East Mountain High School in Longview, Texas from 1954-56, where his band earned four more first division titles. In 1956, Alton became band director at Pittsburgh High School in Pittsburgh, Texas. His band won sweepstakes at UIL, provided half-time performances at Houston Oilers, Baylor University, and University of Miami games. His band was featured by the State Fair of Texas with several performances in the Cotton Bowl and was the winner of the Cotton Bowl Parade in 1960. Beginning in 1965, Alton was band master at Mesquite High School, where he coined the phrase, "The Band from Skeeterland" and later, "The Mighty Maroon Band." Under Alton's guidance, the band won many first-division UIL awards, won the Battle of the Flowers Parade competition in San Antonio three times, and performed three times at Dallas Cowboys half-time shows. Directing the half-time performance for the New Year's Day Cotton Bowl on national television in 1968 was a most memorable career highlight. The mass band included the University of Texas, the University of Tennessee, Kilgore College, and four large area high school bands. Alton taught at Mesquite for 24 years, retiring in 1989. He then became the conductor of the Mesquite Community Band, developing the "Music in the Park" series of concerts.

Alton was a 32nd Degree Mason endowed in "The Grand Lodge of Texas," a member of "The Scottish Rite," and was active in the "Hella Shrine Temple." From 2004-2022 he was the director of the Hella Concert Band, winning high honors at the Texas Shrine Association Band Competitions each year.

Jesus is Alton's Savior. He accepted Christ as a young boy and was active in his local church, often serving as the Music Minister, directing the church choir and was frequently requested for solo performances at other area churches. In his spare time, he was an active member in the United States Sail and Power Squadron and an instructor in the Sea Scouts, BSA.

Alton was preceded in death by his father, Alton Polk, Sr.; mother, Lila Polk; brother, Roy Polk; sister, Lela Mae Mays; son, Carl Polk; and daughter, Jennifer Polk.

Alton leaves behind the following family members to love and cherish his memories: his 3rd wife of 24 years, Jessie Polk; son, Kenneth and wife Anna Lee Polk; son, Wayne and wife Amy Derrick; son, David Polk; son, Andrew and wife Melanie Polk; step-daughter, Virginia Romero; step-daughter, Lisa Turner; step-daughter, Linda Parker; and step-son, John Turner, Jr.

He is also survived by grandchildren: Justin Polk, LeeAnne and husband Jim DiLavore, Ivan Derrick, Matthew and his wife Natalie Polk, Margaret and husband Jd Francis, Michael and wife Courtney Polk, Emily Polk, Rebecca Polk, Gracie Polk, Ana Polk, Kimberly Polk, Logan Polk, Lauren Polk, and step-grandchildren, Casey Byrd, Alie Dodson, Amy Mills, Christian Pecoraro, Cameron Pecoraro and Alana Turner.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alton Polk, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, March 28, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

New Hope Funeral Home- Stateroom A

500 US Highway 80 E, Sunnyvale, TX 75182

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Funeral Service

Friday, March 29, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

New Hope Funeral Home Chapel

500 US Highway 80 E., Sunnyvale, TX 75182

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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