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Passings: Bobby Engemann of the Lettermen (1934 - 2013)

Lettermen (1964) - Engemann at Bottom
Bobby Engemann, one of the three original members of the Lettermen, died on Sunday in Provo, UT from pneumonia contracted after heart bypass surgery. He was 78.

A posting on the group's official Facebook page said:
We were very saddened to hear that one of the original Lettermen, our beloved Bobby Engemann, passed away today January 20, 2013, at 1:35 AM MST in Provo, Utah, as the elder statesman of The Lettermen at 78 years of age.

He was in the loving company of his brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren and many other long time friends.

Bobby had been battling various health problems for the past several years but after a multiple heart by-pass surgery several weeks ago and a bout with pneumonia, he gave himself to the God he loved and served most of his life.
The Lettermen were formed in 1960 by Tony Butala, Jim Pike and Engemann and were subsequently signed to Warner Brothers Records. Their sound followed in the footsteps of 50's groups like the Four Aces and the Four Preps with a tight group harmony, but their two singles for the label failed to score.

When Capitol A&R man Nic Venet heard the group, he signed them to a deal with the label that would last for a quarter of a century. Their first single was a doo wop That's My Desire but it was the flip side, The Way You Look Tonight, that was picked up by radio and the public, going to 13 on the Pop and 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. They followed later in the year with When I Fall in Love (1961/#7 Pop/#1 Adult Contemporary).

Over the first seven years, the group had 11 Hot 100 hits and 12 Top 40 AC songs, including Come Back Silly Girl (1963/#17 Pop/#3 Adult Contemporary), Theme From a Summer Place (1965/#16 Pop/#2 Adult Contemporary) and Goin' Out of My Head / Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You (1967/#7 Pop/#2 Adult Contemporary).

Engemann was the first to leave the group, replaced by Jim Pike's younger brother Gary, wanting to concentrate on his growing family. An elder in the Mormon church, Engemann spent many years in the alumni insurance program for his Alma Mater Brigham Young University.