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Farewell to a super critic

Lois Baumoel, a theater critic for more than 50 years, passed away a week ago.  She had a wonderful, long life -- she was 93 when she died -- but losing someone special is always sad.  And Lois was special.

She worked as a critic in Cleveland, her hometown, and told me that Lois Lane in the Superman comics was named for her.  How true that is I never knew, but I loved the story.  I met Lois long after she had moved to Palm Beach County and began working as a critic for Focus magazine.  I would see this chic, tiny, white-haired lady at one opening after another, and eventually we got to talking.  And became friends.

Lois was active in the Carbonell Awards program and the American Theatre Critics' association, traveling to cities all over the United States for conferences.  I remember her tottering up a hill in San Francisco, dressed to the nines (as she always was), determined not to miss a moment of theatergoing or fun.

She formed strong, long-lasting connections with the many people whose lives she touched.  One of those was J. Wynn Rousuck -- Judy -- the longtime theater critic for the Baltimore Sun. Judy was Lois' goddaughter, and when Lois spoke of her, she glowed.

Lois also touched my son Sean's life in a special way.  I was older when Sean was born, and my parents both died before he turned nine.  He got to know Lois (who loved kids) at South Florida shows and an American Theatre Critics' meeting in Oregon.  Eventually, Lois said to him, "You can call me Grandma." And he did.

Anyone wanting to honor Lois' memory can make a contribution to the Lois Baumoel Scholarship Fund for Theater Students, Randolph College, 2500 Rivermont Ave., Lynchburg, VA 24503.  It's a fitting way to remember a truly generous, kind, lovely lady.

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