June 2017

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June 2017

News & Notices

In Memoriam: Herbert L. Camburn

Joy Emery, Ron Gloekler, Betty Pondexter, and Barbara Cox
USITT Members

USITT has lost another unsung hero. Herbert L. Camburn was one of the legions of contributors to the fulfillment of the Institute’s mission. Herb’s rendering workshops, at first solo and later with Betty Poindexter, Barbara Cox, and Ron Gloeckler, were so popular they were a featured event for years.

He was active in the Costume and Scene Design Commissions. He organized the highly successful mid-1980s Costume Symposium in Anaheim, CA. as well as worked on local programming for the early Long Beach Conferences. Additional Conference contributions include several computer workshops with Herb and Ron Gloekler and a full-day at University of Northern Colorado with Ron and Annie Cleveland when the USITT Conference was in Denver. In 2012, USITT honored Herb with a retrospective exhibit of his work at the Long Beach Conference.

After retirement from teaching, he continued his design work for regional theatres, colleges and corporate, and most notably Disney. Herb reincarnated himself as “Mother Camburn” creating digital property CDs and was a constant at Stage Expo. Wearing another hat, Herb and his partner Michael Gaughenbaugh published Old House, New House: A Child's Exploration of American Architectural Styles in 1993.

Herb had a consuming desire and interest in using the computer and available programs such as Photoshop and Painter and other drawing and painting programs to assist the designer, but never to replace the artist’s hand. Always the educator, in his many years of daily emails to his extended community there was often a history, art, or theatrical insertion to entertain or educate. After retirement he often commented on all the knowledge and professional skill that was in his head that he still wanted to share, which he consistently did.

Herb had a well-deserved reputation as an irascible curmudgeon with a very generous spirit. A devoted Anglophile, he loved spending months in England. But even from there he maintained his own listserv for daily morning email accounts of his day and observations. Herb was indeed “the king of period style” maintaining an enormous library of sources, images, and materials which he generously shared daily to the delight of his list serve buddies. His circle of friends included many USITT friends and a wide range of former students and colleagues. He has left a large hole in the fabric of many lives. He will be missed.

Herb Camburn died April 21, 2017. A memorial service is tentatively planned for June at McKenzie Mortuary in Long Beach, CA.