Paul Daum


Paul A. Daum

1938 – 2005

March 8, 2005 I have just received the news that Paul Daum died on March 4, 2005. For those of you that knew Paul I am sure this is sad news. I went to the University of Akron back in the late 80’s and had Paul as a professor. I became good friends with him throughout the years. He was the first person to get me professional work in the field that I love so much. During Lysistrata he taught me how to love Rosco 56 and make it my friend. Paul was the longest serving active faculty member at the U of A. I take a lot of pride in the education that Paul gave me and only hope that the students I work with get the same from me that Paul gave to his students. Paul was a long standing member of USITT and went to every function put on by the Ohio Chapter. If there is one person in theatre that I truly looked up to it was him.

Paul A. Daum, 66, died March 4 after a heart attack.

Born in Akron on March 15, 1938, he was preceded in death by his brother, Robert (1978); his father, For rest (1981); and his mother, Rebecca (1992).

He attended the University of Akron, Indiana University, Western Reserve University, and earned the B.F.A. from Wesley an College (Ga.) in 1961, the M.A. from Akron in 1964, and the Ph.D. from Ohio State in 1973. He began teaching at the University of Akron in spring 1964 and at his death was the longest-serving active member of the UA faculty.

Paul was happiest working with students. In addition to being an undergraduate adviser and the graduate coordinator for the UA Theatre Program, he taught a wide variety of courses in theatre history and stagecraft. He also was a tireless participant at University recruitment events. Before he died he was planning a reunion party for the cast and crew of UA’s 1971 production of “Dames at Sea” and the current UA cast, which will revive the show this May in the campus theatre in Kolbe Hall that bears his name.

More comfortable behind the scenes doing lighting and technical work than on stage as an actor, he served as technical director, lighting designer, de signer, director, or consultant for more than 180 theatre and dance productions at the University. He published articles on stage lighting and lectured widely about the history of theatre in Akron.

Paul also applied his specialized knowledge of technical theatre through active service as a member of the Akron Stage hands Union (IATSE Local 48) for nearly 40 years. As treasurer, board secretary, and financial secretary (1966 to 1993), he saw the Akron local treble from a scant two or three dozen members through its absorption of the Canton local and its earning responsibility for the (Richfield) Coliseum and Blossom Music Center. Since 1994 he was a trustee and elected administrator of union funds. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he was a member and officer of the Ohio and national sections of USITT, the professional organization for scholars and practitioners of technical theatre.

In the 1970s and 1980s Paul volunteered on the boards of the Community Hall Foundation (Akron Civic Theatre), the Akron Theatrical Credit Union, and the Goodyear Community Theatre. In the 1990s and more recently he served in leadership capacities for the River Walk Playhouse, Akron Torch Club, Let’s Grow Akron, the Children’s Ballet Theatre, Weathervane Community Playhouse, Hower House, and the Community AIDS Network.

As an enthusiastic gardener, only travel or a hard freeze kept Paul from getting his hands in the dirt every day. He purchased, remodeled, expanded, and lived in a century farm house on North Portage Path during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, then downsized nine years ago into a Kemppel brick cottage. He proudly displayed both homes and grounds for house-and-garden tours and other fund-raising events on be half of many community organizations. Bulbs and cuttings that he nurtured still grow in the yards and gardens of dozens of his friends, long after his fruits and vegetables graced their tables.

He arrived at his campus office in Guzzetta Hall most days by 7:30 a.m., and by then he had read two newspapers, one of them financial. Small legacies from his brother and parents he grew through successful investment into the means for major benefactions: the Paul A. Daum Endowed Scholarship for Theatre Arts (1979), the Paul A. Daum Professorship in Theatre Arts (1995), and the Paul A. Daum Theatre Endowment (1998). He established or helped to build a half-dozen other scholarship funds in the names of students, friends, and a mentor.

A memorial service will be Friday, March 11, at 1 p.m., at Silva Funeral Home Rose Hill Chapel, 3653 W. Market St., Fairlawn, Ohio 44333 (330-666-3089). A private entombment in the Daum Family Mausoleum at Rose Hill Burial Park will follow.

An on-campus memorial service will be the following Friday, March 18, at 2 p.m., in the Paul A. Daum Theatre in Kolbe Hall. Always one to enjoy a party and to help his friends do the same, Paul left instructions and funding for a celebration of his life. The friends to whom he entrusted this responsibility project a summer date to coincide with Akron’s growing season.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in Paul’s honor may be sent to the Paul A. Daum Endowed Scholarship or the Paul A. Daum Professorship in Theatre Arts at The University of Akron (44325- 2603), the Gay Community Endowment of the Akron Community Foundation (345 W. Cedar St., Akron, Ohio 44308), or the Weathervane Community Playhouse (1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron, Ohio 44313.)

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