Al Straughan, 1939-2011

“It’s showtime, folks!” Dad was a huge fan of Bob Fosse, and musical theater in general.

He always had a new “favorite song in the world”, but these are a few (and I’ll be adding to them) that typify him in one way or another.

Tribute from his friend Celeste:
“Al had a positive optimism that permeated his life and work. No matter how sick he was, he always looked toward the future. He was a nurturing person who never foresook the maternal within his masculinity. We had a fantastic time together from 1959 through 1965 as the twin nexus of a group of wild scholars romping through LSU in Baton Rouge, the City of New Orleans and the Louisiana countryside with imperial abandon but doing no harm. Alton and I lost touch around 1970 to find each other again in 1992. Since then our friendship illuminated my adult life. He was a linguist, a helpful consultant to developing communities throughout the world with the US foreign service and independently, a true mystic, artist and writer. It’s hard to believe we’ll never again engage in stimulating arguments over the nature of the world and spirit or in gut-busting reminiscences of the past.”
Celeste’s visit to England (pdf with photos)

More reminiscences on Al in the comments below, and here and here.

6 thoughts on “Al Straughan, 1939-2011

  1. Vita Castellana

    Deirdre, although we’ve never met, I feel like I have met you through your newsletter, which allowed me to keep in touch with my love for things Italian. I am so sorry to hear about your father passing. My condolences to you & your family.

  2. susan rossien

    Deirdre,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. Your Father was one of a kind. I lost my Dad 21 years ago and still miss him but it gets easier.
    Take care and my sympathy to your family,
    Susan Rossien

  3. Addis Williams

    Deirdre-
    Thanks so much for letting me know of your father’s condition these past several days.
    Over 60 years of friendship with Alton seems like a very short time now. . . .
    The world is a little more empty without those calls from England.
    My thoughts are with all of you.
    Addis

  4. Charlie Blank

    Kathy & I send our sympathies to you and Ruth. Alton was a month younger than I and we went through school together and then off to LSU. We roomed together just before I married. Celeste was a frequent visitor. I remember Addis, who lived across the street from Alton while we were growing up. Addis was the most talented person that I have ever known.

    Alton and I had numerous deep discussions. We agreed more often than not. The last time we corresponded, we differed about the afterlife. He could not believe that there was not something after death; I called it the Great Void. We would enjoy arguing passionately about such things.

    He was a positive person and personified the “I’m OK; you’re OK”. The world was a better place when he was alive.

    Hardly anything brings a tear to my eye; but this did.

    Charlie & Kathy Blank, Irving, TX.

  5. Brianna

    Deirdre,

    My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. The loss of a loved one is never easy, but you will come out of this tragedy a much stronger person.
    Be good to yourself.
    My heartfelt condolences,

    Brianna

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