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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

KPAC Founder Wilford Stapp Passes Away

TPR mourns the loss of Wilford Stapp, one of the founders of Classical KPAC 88.3 FM. Wilford passed away late in the evening on Saturday 29, 2015. He was 97 years old.

Wilford was a petroleum geologist by trade, and an opera lover at heart. He met his wife Margaret at work, and began courting her after they attended a performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at the Municipal Auditorium in San Antonio. They were married on July 3, 1948.

After the commercial classical station KMFM changed formats in the 1970s, KMFM founder B.J. McClain hatched a plan with Wilford and a group of classical music enthusiasts to put a non-commercial, 24-hour classical music station on the air. It took a few years and plenty of calls to the FCC, but KPAC finally launched on November 7, 1982 with Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.”

After the addition of KSTX 89.1 FM, Wilford and Margaret Stapp continued to volunteer at Texas Public Radio. Wilford remained active at work well into his 90s. I remember visiting him at his office in 2013, the desk stacked with papers. Wilford had just gotten back from a trip to the field. He also teased his plans for another operatic endeavor in San Antonio. He was always thinking of the future.

Wilford’s beloved wife Margaret passed away on September 10, 2014.

With Wilford’s death, we mourn the loss of a true believer in the transformative power of art and classical music.

Services for Wilford Stapp will be held on Friday, December 4, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Alamo.

In the audio below, hear Wilford Stapp and B.J. McClain reflect on the genesis of KPAC 88.3 FM, and the years of work that went into getting the station on the air.

In this undated photo from the early 1980s, Wilford Stapp is second from left. KPAC co-founder B.J. McClain is on the far left.