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Partner sets up memorial fund in honor of late Miami Gay Men's Chorus member Eric DeBusk

By STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

A Miami Gay Men's Chorus memorial scholarship fund is being established in honor of member Eric DeBusk, who died in January after a long illness. He would have been 36 on Feb. 12.

"He loved music. He loved performing. That was his big thing," said David Ewing, DeBusk's partner of nearly 12 years.

DeBusk had been a cruise ship entertainer for several years before illness forced him on disability. He joined the chorus about three years ago, Ewing said.

"He was a recipient of a scholarship before," said Ewing, who plans to fund five new scholarships a year through the memorial. "I know how much it meant to somebody who didn't have the money to participate.'

Chorus board president Keith Hart said "we're very thankful that his partner has pledged to start the Eric DeBusk memorial fund." Members must each pay $180 a year to cover chorus costs, fees and other expenses.

"Eric was very active in all phases of the chorus, not just as a singing member, but in community events we would sponsor," Hart said. "We also were not only able to get his musical vocal talents, but his acting talents as well. He was very excited,very dedicated to moving the chorus forward."

Hart said the chorus will dedicate its second annual choral festival -- featuring eight different South Florida singing groups -- to DeBusk. The festival will be held 7 p.m., Feb. 26, at Trinity Cathedral, 464 NE 16th St., Miami.

DeBusk, who lived 10 years in Miami Beach, loved to travel and "was a real people person," Ewing said.

Six years ago, Ewing gave a pug to DeBusk as a Christmas present.

"His pride and joy, Fitch the pug," Ewing said.

DeBusk died Jan. 11 in his hometown, Glade Spring, Va. He is also survived by his parents, Patty and Allen DeBusk of Glade Spring; sister, Kelly DeBusk Maffeo and her husband, Charlie, of Winchester, Va.; paternal grandmother, Betty DeBusk and many friends and relatives. Services were held in Virginia.

Contributions may be made to the Eric DeBusk Memorial Fund, Miami Gay Men's Chorus, P.O. Box 190209, Miami Beach, FL 33119-0209.

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