From Dean D.J. Trela
Dear Colleagues and Friends—
With profound sadness I write to announce the death of Associate Professor Stephen Landon. He died Sunday evening in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was engaged in design work at the Black Hills Playhouse. The cause of death was a recurrence of the brain cancer that Stephen had survived for many years.
Stephen exemplified what was best about UM-Flint, the College he was part of, and the Theatre and Dance Department that was his home. He arrived at UM-Flint in 2005 as an Assistant Professor. His architecture background was immediately evident in his set design, which was widely praised and seamlessly woven into the fabric of the drama or comedy being staged. One appreciative reviewer wrote of his “sense of design economy”; of “how everything visible is there for a good reason”; and how designs supported “the actors and action of the plays first, followed up with thoughtful approaches to décor and special effects.”
These statements strike me as apt descriptions of the colleague and friend that I knew and deeply admired. Stephen was low key, quietly intelligent, dedicated first to the welfare of his students. He said no more than he needed to, and there was good reason for everything he said. He also cared profoundly about the welfare of the University and the community it was part of. When I last spoke with him before his departure for Rapid City, he spoke of his excitement about the summer’s work, but even moreso of the Fall semester to come—and the semesters and years beyond. He often said that UM-Flint was exactly where he wanted to be.
We have been fortunate—blessed even—to have this gentle man as our colleague for these past seven years. We already miss him.
Stephen’s family has not yet announced arrangements, but they will be forthcoming when available. The University will certainly arrange a suitable tribute to our friend, colleague and teacher at an appropriate time.
D. J. Trela
Your message of remembrance is welcomed in the Comments section below.