Horace V. Apgar, Jr. (1923-2014)
Horace Vincent Apgar, Jr. was born in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1923. An accomplished classical musician, he enrolled in the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. However, he dropped out during his freshman year in order to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserves in December 1942. In June 1943 he was sent to Fort McClellan in Alabama for basic training.
During World War II, Apgar served with the 397th Regiment of the 100th Infantry Division (the “Century Division”) of the Sixth Corp of U.S. Seventh Army. His unit saw active combat in southern Germany from March 1944 to August 1945, and was later awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. In the fall of 1945 Apgar transferred to the Standtkreis Frankfurt branch of the MFAA Section of the United States Office of Military Government (OMGUS). Stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, he was involved in the restitution of Torah scrolls, Menorahs, works of art, and other cultural items stolen from Jewish synagogues and temples by the Nazis. Along with Monuments Man Capt. Julius H. Buchman, he inspected the records of the city of Frankfurt deposited at Castle Assenheim, and recovered works of art and antiquities belonging to the Stădtische Vŏlkermuseum at Castle Eisenbach. He also assisted in operations at the Rothschild Library in Frankfurt, which was used as a repository for recovered Jewish books and manuscripts. The number of items deposited at the Rothschild Library soon became so great that the need arose for a larger building. Subsequently, the Offenbach Archival Depot, housed in the five-story I.G. Farben Building, became the central collecting point for all looted print material until June 1949.
Apgar was discharged in August 1946. For his military service, he was awarded the Bronze Star, the ETO Medal with two stars, the WWII Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge. After his return home to the United States, Apgar decided to further his study of music. He returned to the University of Rochester and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music in 1949. He also studied at New York University and the University of Oklahoma, where he worked as a bass instructor from 1951 to 1955. He was briefly a member of the Houston Symphony before returning to Oklahoma to join the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra. There, he enjoyed a career as the Orchestra’s principal bass player which spanned an impressive fifty-six years. During this time, he was also inspired to instruct the next generation of classical musicians. For thirty-five years, he taught as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University.
In their spare time, Apgar and his beloved wife Nancy, also a talented musician, owned a pet store in Oklahoma City and bred show-quality Cocker Spaniels. Horace Apgar passed away on September 13, 2014, in Audubon, PA.