Archive for Wednesday, September 22, 2004

KU honors McLouth man

September 22, 2004

Clarence Seaver, McLouth, was surprised recently at a ceremony honoring his achievements and dedication to the Kansas University Theatre, where he was scene shop foreman, from 1965 to 1981.

About 75 people attended the ceremony, and some of his former students and colleagues traveled from Alabama, New York, Ohio and Texas to surprise Seaver on Aug. 29 at Kansas University's Murphy Hall.

His former students spoke of his devotion to them and told many wonderful and humorous stores. The lessons Seaver taught them have stayed with them for life, according to several students.

His daughter, Cheryl Wonnell, Lawrence, has spent the last year creating the Clarence Seaver Project while keeping it secret from her father.

The fund, now totaling $7,235, has received contributions from Seaver's former students, colleagues, family and friends.

Recently, the department of theater and film endorsed the project as one of their own and will continue to raise money in hopes of having it fully endowed by KU. Wonnell will continue to work with the Department on the project.

The funds will create the Clarence Seaver Technical Theatre Scholarship Award, to be given out annually to theatre students.

Wonnell said she was thankful to her father's former students and colleagues -- for their monetary contributions and for the stories they told about Seaver patiently teaching them how to use tools, build stage scenery and create a good work ethic.

At the ceremony, Wonnell told a story about her father.

"One summer, when I was very young, I was playing in my playhouse and heard on the radio that a building had collapsed in Tonganoxie," she said. "I went to tell Daddy and immediately he said, 'Let's go.'

"We went to Tongie and I spent the day under a shade tree until my mother picked me up after work. My dad worked with other volunteers digging and trying to recover those people who were buried in the rubble. I still have the newspaper picture of him carrying a body out of the rubble. That really impressed me because he never hesitated to go help even though it was very dangerous. That is the way he has always been in the face of adversity."

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