Advocate for Memorial Auditorium Dies
by Kathleen Haley, published on April 8, 2010 at 8:05PM
A community activist who was at the center of a campaign to maintain Sacramento’s historic Memorial Auditorium has died.
Richard LaVoie of Sacramento died April 2 from heart failure. He was 48.
LaVoie was the organizer of a campaign in the early 1990s to renovate Memorial Auditorium while staying true to its original design, said Bob Rakela, a member of the nonprofit group Friends of Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
Today, the interior of the building looks impressive, Rakela said. And that’s largely because of LaVoie’s efforts and his fight to “keep it in its original configuration,” he added.
LaVoie pushed for passage of Measure H, the 1992 ballot initiative that successfully prevented the city from carrying out a plan to remake the auditorium into a fixed-seat theater, said Richard Clowdus, a member of the nonprofit group.
LaVoie was committed to preserving the auditorium as a “historic treasure,” Clowdus said.
Noelle Young is also a member of the nonprofit organization that LaVoie founded. “He was a very unique individual, and his loss was huge,” Young said. “He was a wonderful person -- very inspiring in a quiet way.”
Joanne LaVoie, Richard LaVoie’s mother, said phone calls have been pouring in from people who knew him. “I had so many people calling; I don’t believe it,” she said. “It’s just fantastic.”
The graveside service will be held at Sierra Hills Memorial Park and East Lawn Mortuary in Citrus Heights at 2 p.m. April 20, said Joanne LaVoie. After the service, a catered reception will be held at the Sierra Hills Reception Hall, she said. Sierra Hills Memorial Park is located at 5757 Greenback Lane. The public is invited to attend the services.