08. April 2013 · 5 comments · Categories: Losses

I just received this today, and with permission I am posting it here:

While reports of my father, Ray Duste, passing in 2007 were exaggerated, I’m sad to report that he did pass away peacefully April 4, 2013 at the age of 94. He had been in robust health and clear of mind, playing golf (he shot his age at 92!) and continuing to hold court at Forrest’s until a month before his death. His wife Ellie and I were at bedside holding his hands as he left us.

A great and gracious man, gifted performer, insightful teacher and inspiration to all; I’ll miss him forever.

Marc Duste

I met Mr. Duste one time when I went to get my oboe repaired at Forrests (sadly they now won’t repair my instruments, but that’s another story for another time!). When he heard that I was the English horn player for San Jose Symphony he played every excerpt imaginable as I stood in awe and listened. He was so very kind, so very musical, and quite funny, too. I remember that day fondly. It was as if I received a free lesson and a free concert all wrapped up in one!

I’m so sorry for your loss, Marc, and send my condolences to your entire family as well.


  1. Dear Marc,
    I played in the SFOpera orchestra with your Dad in the old days. He was such a great musician, and a really wonderful guy. He always had time to talk and offer gentle advice to a neophyte.
    I remember one thing he told me, “Always play from the heart.” I’ve always remembered that, and hope that I have done so. R.I.P. Ray, a great man!

  2. Ray gave me my first oboe lessons, later took me to play along with him on my first jobs, taught me most of what I consider important about music and much that I know about life. He mentored me through my early professional years. He gave me a career and I owe him the immense debt that can be repaid only by passing along as much as possible of the knowledge he shared with me.

    RIP, Ray. And thank you!

  3. Margaret Lynn Duste-Phenicie

    Uncle Raymond helped me see that as a beginner at clarinet when I was 15 that I was a good learner. Thank you for taking me to Pebble Beach then. I will miss you; but your inspiration to me will go on.

  4. Thank you for sharing that, Margaret! Very touching.

  5. Marc: I was at Forrests’ this morning and learned of your father’s death. 45 years ago I paid him for occasional gigs for Waldemar Jacobsen and the San Francisco Bach Choir. I have not forgotten Mr. Duste’ as a consummate musician, a fine oboist, and a real gentleman.

    Please accept my late but heartfelt condolences, and extend my sympathy to Eleanor (whom I first knew as Eleanor Biondi).