The lighted sign at Ent Center for the Arts invites: Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater. Family and friends celebrated the return of live theater inside by honoring the late “bon vivant,” described as “a connoisseur of the good things in life.”

It was the 20th anniversary of the death of Lester “Dusty” Loo and family members brother Gary, Kathy, James and Susan Loo Pattee, along with friends, the arts community and those from UCCS, kept his legacy alive with a reception before the opening of “Every Brilliant Thing.”

A special treat Dusty would have enjoyed, all agreed, was a back stage tour by TheatreWorks and center personnel.

Starting in 1962, Dusty, joined by brother Gary in 1964, had run the successful family business, LooArt Press/Current Inc., created by their parents in 1950. It had been a greeting-card company started in the family home — even on the kitchen table — and became a large mail-order catalog company known for cards, gift wrap, stationery, gifts and cookbooks of recipes from the family matriarch and the test kitchens she opened. Current was sold in 1986 for $115 million.

Because brothers Dusty and Gary had been personally involved with philanthropic efforts and the arts and had served on numerous boards, the family created the Bloom Foundation. James Loo describes the name as “a philanthropy about making things grow.” Focuses are the arts, conservation and education.

Jon Medved, who had been president of Current Inc., knew exactly why “bon vivant” perfectly describes Dusty Loo, who had died on Christmas Day at age 64. Bestowed by UCCS TheatreWorks co-founder Murray Ross, the descriptive was for a joyful, creative, fly-first-class life and a love of theater that had started at age 8 as the lead in “The Littlest Wiseman.”

Medved said Loo was a thespian at heart with roles in high school and college and he was a regular with Colorado Springs Civic Theater directed by Orvis Grout. He was active with and a benefactor of TheatreWorks.

As guests toasted Dusty with “Tequila Mockingbirds,” there was Medved’s revelation that Dusty had been quite an amateur magician as well as being a “terrific businessman who could see the whole picture.”

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