The Tack Flutes

Learn about the history of each flute that is available for award each year.

Jane Grimble

Jane Grimble was born in Turon, Kansas (near Hutchison), September 10, 1939. She played flute and piano, and studied privately throughout high school. She graduated from Kansas State University, then earned her Master’s degree at Colorado State University. She was a primary grades teacher in the Wichita schools at for 34 years, at Dodge Elementary School from 1961-1970, and at Longfellow Elementary from 1970-1995. Though she was unable to continue her studies in college, she continued to play for her own enjoyment and to use music in her classroom teaching. Rather than sell her flute, she was very happy to donate it for use by young flute students. Jane died of cancer in September 1997.

Sheralynn Neff

As a young girl Sheralynn was inherently inquisitive, liked adventure, music, poetry, and being outdoors. She took lessons in piano, harp, and even tried her hand at guitar. Flute became her main instrument from Middle School through college, though she also dabbled in playing the djembe and harmonica. She was active in music programs in church  as well as school and was baptized into the Christian faith.

Her first flute teacher was Mrs. Postier in Newton, Kansas. When in high school, Mrs. Bergman also worked with the flute students. Sheralynn set high goals and worked diligently toward reaching them. We were grateful for those who challenged and mentored her.

Sheralynn kept her beginner’s flute for marching band, becoming drum major her senior year. She auditioned and used one of the flutes available through the Tack Flute Foundation for concert band and contests. Meanwhile, she saved up money to buy a new flute. She graduated from Newton High School in 2008.

She then embarked on a gap service year with the church, living in Brazil. Sheralynn had a keen ear for languages as well as music, learning Portuguese and Spanish during her time there. She left for Brazil with her beginning flute returned with a guitar, leaving her first flute with one of her students. The father of one of her host families was an expert guitar player and was glad to help her learn. When she returned she purchased a flute to take with her to Hesston College where she studied with Kristin Shaffer. The flute you now have, is the one she saved up for.

Sheralynn enjoyed international travel and went on a choir tour in Europe. She graduated with degrees in music and Bible. She went on to get a degree at Canadian Mennonite University. She began coming up with new arrangements of favorite songs. Her major was Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation. Music and Theology were her minors. She was hoping to work at being a bridge between various groups where needed. She was passionate about wanting people to listen to each other’s stories, and peacefully work through their differences. She cared deeply about the poor and oppressed. She also worked against injustice and for the acceptance of people who are marginalized. She planned to live and work in different cultures around the world. She also lived in Africa for a semester, and lived in South Korea for a year teaching English in a grade school.

She had a sense of adventure and always wanted to study and learn more. She couldn’t read enough books. For her, it was always a matter of:

  • Which country and people group will she live with next?

  • What new language is she studying now?

  • What new instrument will she learn to play while there?

She found music a wonderful language of its own that is an important bridge between people of various cultures.

The summer before Sheralynn was leaving for graduate school, she died in an accident at the age of 26 on July 24, 2016. I am now imagining her playing in heavenly choirs. Her flute was donated to the Tack Flute Foundation to be available for other students. —Kathleen Neff

Carol S. Holman

Carol was a friend to all and a native Wichitan. After graduating from East High School, she entered Wichita State University, where she earned her degree in music education. She taught in the schools in Minneapolis, Towanda, and Hugoton. Later she was principal flutist of the Wichita Symphony for nine years after helping found it.

Additional studies in flute and later in media took her to master classes and credit for classes at such places as Northwestern University, UCLA, Boston University, and Indiana University. After teaching flute at WSU for fourteen years, she became the director of the audio-visual department. She had earned a masters degree at Wichita State University and then a Specialist in Education Media Degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

George B. Tack had been her early teacher so it was natural for her to be a co-founder of the George B. Tack Memorial Flute Committee (now the Tack Flute Foundation). When she became ill, she directed that her flute was to go immediately to the committee for scholarship use upon her death.

Hers was a loving life of service to her family, friends, fellow musicians, co-workers, the University, Church, and community.

Carroll Hellar

The Carroll Hellar Haynes flute was graciously donated by her husband, Dale, to the Tack Flute Foundation after Carroll’s death. Her death on May 11, 2001, was only six weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Carroll’s 63 years of life were always filled with a love of teaching children, flute playing, church involvement, family, making and remaining in touch with friends, travel, adventure, and sweetness. 

She was born on the 23rd of June, 1937, in Williston, ND. Carroll grew up in Billings, MT, where she learned to play the flute. As a junior in high school (with her new Haynes flute), she was accepted into the Billings Symphony, where she held a position for the next five years. That was also during the time she was a student at Montana State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

During Carroll’s first year of teaching in Great Falls, MT, she also played in the Great Falls Symphony. She then taught for the Department of Defense Schools in Japan, Hawaii, and Germany for over 20 years. Throughout those years of teaching and child-rearing, she was continually involved in music groups.

After meeting and marrying Dale Hellar in Germany, they returned to America and made a home in Wichita in 1993. She readily became involved in teaching pre-school, church activities, making friends, and playing in both the Senseney Community Band and the Nightingale Flute Group.

The Nancy and Fred Kerr Flute

The Kerr family first obtained the flute around 1950. It had a previous owner, and George Tack located it. It was purchased through Mr. Tack by the Kerr family for use by Fred Kerr, who was about nine years old at the time. He was a student of Mr. Tack. A leather carrying case was made for the flute personally by Harry Shepler, who had a small shop in downtown Wichita.

The flute was played by Fred Kerr until about 1958, at which time Fred discontinued playing the instrument. The flute remained in Kerr family homes until about 1990 when Fred and Nancy Kerr loaned it to Wichita State University for use by students.

In 2003, the flute was officially gifted to the George B. Tack Memorial Flute Committee of the Wichita Public Schools.

Fred and Nancy Kerr have a grain production business in Pratt County. Fred served 16 years in the Kansas Senate and four years on the Board of Regents. Nancy is a graduate of Wichita State University, having a Bachelor of Music Education degree with emphasis in piano and voice, and a master’s degree in vocal performance.


Wichita Public School

Charles Balogh was born in Szeged, Hungary, on March 17, 1895. He was selected in auditions to study for the Military Band of Hungary, and studied with an understudy of the first flutist of the Budapest Symphony. He played in the Omaha Symphony and the Miller Theater Orchestra. He was a teacher of the flute, and taught Delores Bachman who played in the Bismarck Symphony Orchestra. He gave many concerts in Wichita at locations such as Blessed Sacrament Church, Friends University, and East High School. He played with the Shrine Band, the Wichita American Legion Band, and at the Riverside Band Concerts. He acquired the Haynes flute, currently owned by the Wichita Public Schools, in 1932. He owned a music store in Wichita, which was located at 144 N Broadway. He died in Wichita, Kansas, February 15, 1951.

We don’t know for sure why he donated his flute to the Wichita Public Schools, but the District has asked the Tack Flute Foundation to administer the flute to a deserving, talented flutist that is a student in the Wichita Public School System.