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Remembering Tom DuBuque

Sep. 5, 2011
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Tom DuBuque was always in motion as house manager of the Pabst Theater. Throughout his 41 years at the theater, he preferred to be offstage, assisting patrons, solving problems or happy to just greet an interested tourist poking a head in to see the historic beauty of the Pabst.

DuBuque died unexpectedly in a car crash on Aug. 15 while vacationing in South Africa.  He loved traveling and continued to travel alone since the death of his longtime partner, Jim Lagoo, 11 years ago.  But his passion for the theater was obvious to all he worked with.

“Since the theater itself was one of the true loves of his life, in many ways, Tom DuBuque was the heart and the soul of the living and breathing historic Pabst Theater,” said Gary Witt, executive director of the Pabst Theater Foundation. “His love for our beautiful theater was pure and he always wanted the best for it.”

While DuBuque had been a dentist for many years, his retirement allowed him to be in the theater fulltime. And as his assistant house manager and eventual good friend, Chris Segedy recalls that meant doing whatever it took to help a patron. “We were always returning purses, credit cards, wallets,” she says, remembering a time when they found a pair of gloves and she returned them to the elderly woman after Tom made the call. “We worked well together because we both had the same philosophy about customer service. We both came at it from the same place, and he was just always available.”

DuBuque's love for the theater started at an early age when his mother took him to the theater as a young boy.  In high school he and a friend, John Michalski (now an actor in New York City) both emceed the annual AFS variety show and became lifelong friends. Always one to put others first, DuBuque went to see his friend and fellow actress wife wherever they performed, regardless of the show. “Wherever I or my wife Jillian Lindig performed, schedule permitting, he would come. In fact, we were the only actors he would go out of his way to see perform Shakespeare, not one of his favorite playwrights.”

Ironically, Michalski will fly in to “emcee” his friend's memorial service.

There have been a number of shows at the Pabst since DuBuque's passing. But clearly there's an empty space in the lobby and aisles where DuBuque could always be found, moving about, directing, assisting, a smile on his face

As Witt put it:  “We will miss him every day the lights go on.”

A memorial service will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19 at the Pabst Theater. The program will start at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Per the family's request, donations may be made to The American Cancer Society, Alzheimer's Association or an arts group of your choice.


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