Ella Jean Washington, noted music teacher and director, dies

October 3, 2013

Untitled   Ella Jean Washington, well-known Milwaukee music teacher and director, died on Wednesday at the age of 74 at Froedtert Hospital.  Mrs. Washington graduated from North Division High School and UW-Milwaukee with the Bachelor and Masters degrees.

She taught at North Division High School, Robert Fulton and John Burroughs Middle Schools prior to becoming a Music Supervisor in 1969.  As a Music Supervisor, she was the first African American to direct the Milwaukee Public Schools Biennial Music Festival of up to 1,800 voices from 1969 to 1990.  She was also an Assistant Principal at Rufus King and North division High Schools.

She was the founder and artistic director of The Heritage Chorale of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years.   The Chorale specialized in choral music from classics to gospel and jazz with the goal of sustaining the rich legacy of music written by African American composers.

As a community service, the Chorale performed concerts throughout the community.  Their music took them throughout the United States and one European tour that included three cities and three U.S. military installations.

She was on the boards of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. She was an active member of the Milwaukee Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where she served as President and in other capacities.


Mrs. Washington and her husband, W. Harold, children Harold Andre and Shari Lyn travelled widely throughout the United States, including Hawaii and other countries. Her travels included the African countries of Sierre Leone and Zimbabwe.

She was an active member of Calvary Baptist Church, where she served in the Music Ministry for over twenty-eight years. She was a director at one time or another of each of the five choirs as well as a Sunday School teacher and Director of Christian Education.

She is survived by her children, Harold Andre (Terry) and their children, Autumn and Spencer of Kenosha, WI and Shari Lyn Rhone (Dan) and their children, Myumi

and Morgan of Los Angeles, CA, brother, Palmer and sister, Berverly  Hutcherson of Milwaukee and, Karl of Kenosha.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband W. Harold, parents, and brothers Larry and Billie.

The Visitation will be Thursday Evening October 3, 2013 at Northwest Funeral Chapel from 3 p.m. to 7p.m.  Funeral Services will be held Friday, October 4, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 2959 N. Teutonia Avenue.