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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Dorothy Ufer Hlavacek

CHEWNING, Vincent John. (Dubuque, IA, Oct. 9, 1907--Dubuque, IA, Apr. 9, 1987) The son of Charles CHEWNING, Vincent was a graduate of LORAS ACADEMY, COLUMBIA COLLEGE, and BAYLESS BUSINESS COLLEGE. He worked for the RENIER MUSIC HOUSE and was an instructor in music.

Vincent was the Director of St. Mary's School Band and the Dubuque Band Academy. He was also the assistant director, reed instrument and harp specialist of the Cadet Band. He was a member of the Dubuque Traveling and Business Men's Association from 1930-1941 and part of the Good Will Tour in June 1936 as the director of his own 16 piece band. This Good Will Tour sponsored by the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce lasted 2 days, traveled 410 miles and went to 32 towns and cities in Illinois and Iowa. He also directed the Vince Chewning's Accordion Orchestra that played at the Roma Cafe, 926 Main Street, and they accompanied the Famous Blues Singer Marion Dale - direct from the Trionon Ball Room, Chicago.

In the autumn of 1931, Vincent was part of Earl Wood's Symphony Band. Vincent, a major contributor to Dubuque musical history, was pictured in the Telegraph-Herald on January 11, 1963 with the Dubuque Band Academy in an article entitled “It Happened in Dubuqueland". He was also pictured in John Tigges' column "Remember When". Chewning performed with LUKE RITZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA and directed the band sponsored by the DUBUQUE BOYS' CLUB where the future musicians John GRAAS and Vincent GRAAS had their start.

Chewning was married first to Dorothy A. Hogan who died giving birth to their infant son on February 14, 1930. He was married a second time to Lucille Zahina on April 26, 1945. It was a military wedding as he was a sergeant in the army and they moved immediately after the wedding at Shaw Field in Sumter, S.C. He and Lucille had a son Charles. They lived in Illinois for most of their married life. Vincent was a musical instrument repairman at Norlin Industries. The couple retired to Dubuque where Vincent died on April 9, 1987 and Lucille died on Dec. 25th, 1993. They are buried at Mt. Calvary in Dubuque.

Vincent Chewning's uncle was Leslie Chewning, the musical director of the CHEWNING-STUBER ORCHESTRA. Charles, Vincent's father, and Leslie also had their own musical group called the CHEWNING BROS. ORCHESTRA. His cousin was Susan Marie APEL.

Vincent Chewning (right). Photo courtesy: Dorothy Ufer Hlavacek



The genealogical information provided in this entry comes from the years of research done on the Chewning family by Dorothy Ufer Hlavacek, the eldest daughter of Marguerite CHEWNING and William Ufer.