Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
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Brian MacQueen passed suddenly this week at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City surrounded by his family and friends. It was a peaceful, graceful departure in keeping with Brian's beautiful heart and deep spiritual confidence in the Life Eternal. He was 63 years old.
Brian was the youngest of six children of Dr. JC MacQueen and Gertrude MacQueen, both longtime residents of Iowa City. He grew up in Iowa City graduating from West High School as class president in 1975, and then graduated from the University of Iowa in Theatre in 1980. Brian worked for the Transcendental Meditation movement in Washington, D.C. with his wife Kristel Bach who he married in 1982. They later divorced. For years, on his own time Brian wrote, designed, directed, produced, and engineered a number of radio plays that were featured on National Public Radio playhouse as well as his charming children's radio show "Chip the Squirrel" written for his beloved nephew Will. For this work at NPR, Brian received an International Award for Radio Theatre, an achievement he was understandably very proud of.
Brian also trained as a paramedic and served in that capacity for some years before being accepted to the Yale School of Drama, where he graduated with an MFA in Technical Design in 2000.
Brian worked in a number of prominent theatre houses around the country as head sound designer and teacher until he returned to teach at Yale for a few years. After Yale, he went to South Korea to teach at Dongguk University in Seoul. He was an outstanding teacher and deeply loved by his students for his passionate interest in the development of their artistic skills. He taught from a level of enthusiasm and encouragement.
In 2009, Brian generously returned to Iowa City to help care for his aging parents until their deaths and then moved to Fairfield, Iowa, where he became Technical Director at the Sondheim Center. He then began a journey of cycles of poor health from which he would miraculously recover, determined to carry on with his life and work much to the amazement of his family and friends. The last few years of his life were filled by his theatre work at the Walton Performing Arts Facility in Fayetteville, Ark., the Coralville Arts Center, caregiving jobs in Fairfield, and his deep participation in the life of his family. He had just been rehired at the Sondheim Center when he became ill for the last time.
Endowed with great humor, a brilliant mind and creative genius, Brian was always a standout personality and we will miss him in all the large and small ways he touched us. Brian loved kayaking, biking, reading (especially Shakespeare) and celebrations of all kinds. He was a tender-hearted person who always sought to protect the feelings of others and lived deeply from his spiritual life that was a more private miracle that shown on those of us near him.
Brian leaves a bereaved family: Jennifer (Doug) Hamilton of Fairfield, Debra (Stephen) MacQueen of Kneeland California, John (Nancy) MacQueen of Palm Springs, California, Susan MacQueen of Davenport Iowa. Nephews/nieces: Will (Lizzy) Hamilton of Fairfield, Mila Hamilton of Minneapolis, MN, Dr John (Lori) Hartman of Bettendorf, IA, and Gabriel (Reiko) Hartman of Davenport, IA and six great-nieces/nephews.
He was preceded in death by his oldest sister, Candace MacQueen and his parents.
Donations in Brian's name can be made to the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa.