Tulsa's Jimmy Saied remembered

Friday, December 10th 2004, 11:28 am
By: News On 6

The Tulsa man who helped make "The Stars and Stripes Forever" America's official march died Thursday. Jimmy Saied lived 89 years. He was more than just a fan of John Philip Sousa, and far more than just a prominent Tulsa businessman.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the late Jimmy Saied's office is a tribute to a life in music - not for himself, but his mentor, the legendary John Philip Sousa. His passion turned into a second career as a Sousa look alike.

Ron Kuykendall with Saied Music: "I guess as he aged, someone recognized there was a resemblance."

Saied recalled in 1987 how he got started portraying Sousa. Jimmy Saied: "And suddenly he said to me, I've known you for 30 years but you look like somebody. I said maybe Arthur Fiedler, yes a little bit, I said John Philip Sousa, he said that's it, we've got to do something."

Saied had always been a band leader, and loved a good march. His concert bands always played them, and he liked one so much - the Stars and Striped Forever - he led the effort to have it declared America's official march. Saied carried Sousa's spirit, but here in Tulsa - he was best known for encouraging children to love music.

Ron Kuykendall: "He did what he could to get that child to playing a musical instrument; he would go out of his way to make it happen. If it meant giving something to a child, or going to the house to help the parents make a decision, he would do that."

Old band leaders like George Brite from Sapulpa are in mourning over the loss. "He was a great person, and I will miss him even more now."

Saied's influence, like Sousa's music, will live on, and each of them has the other to thank.