Life Sunday, November 21, 2004

Pentacle Theatre member Stephen Warnock dies

A memorial service for him will be held next week

November 21, 2004

Pentacle Theatre will hold a memorial service next week to say goodbye to longtime theater member Stephen Warnock, 37, who died of lung cancer Friday morning.

Warnock, who had acted and otherwise been active at the theater since 1982, was diagnosed in 2003 on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, while he was a stage manager for "The Mikado."

"He was given from six weeks to six months, and he beat the odds," said Salem friend Pauli Long, who met Warnock when he was a sound technician on Pentacle's production of "The Apple Tree" in 1982.

Warnock worked until August at the state Justice Department. He was hospitalized for a week in October before he was moved to the home of fellow Pentacle members Robert Herzog and Pat Hayter, both of whom are nurses at Salem Hospital.

He received hospice care at the Herzog/Hayter home until Friday morning, when he died.

"He died very, very comfortably in my arms," Herzog said.

Although Warnock, a Salem native, had family in the area, they had been devastated by the deaths from cancer of four family members, including Warnock's mother, Linda Evans, in recent years, and were unable to care for him, friends said.

"Of course, Stephen didn't have anywhere else to go," Herzog said.

"Stephen didn't ask his family," Long said. "There was a need there, and his Pentacle family stepped in to help him."

Warnock's family was with him the night before his death, Herzog said.

"It was a community kind of thing," Long said. "There were five or six of us that could relieve Pat and Robert so they could get out, and his family was involved."

Pentacle friends raised money to keep Warnock's health insurance intact and now are raising money to remember him by buying a new Pentacle seat in his honor.

Warnock was a graduate of North Salem High School, where he was active in theater, and lived in California after high school, returning to Salem and Pentacle in 1995.

He served on the Pentacle board from 2000 to 2003 and had roles in shows such as "Arsenic and Old Lace," "Absurd Person Singular," "The Miser," "Dracula," "Equus" and "Barefoot in the Park."

Altogether, he acted or otherwise contributed to 27 Pentacle productions over the years.

Warnock, who directed "Communicating Doors," was scheduled to direct "Charley's Aunt" this year but had to cancel because of his illness.

His replacement was Cec Koontz, who had directed "The Apple Tree," Warnock's first Pentacle production.

"Stephen was a very, very mellow, sweet, natural, positive, wonderful guy," Herzog said. "He actually died the way he lived."

Long echoed Herzog.

"Very fun and fun-loving, quick witted and warm and loving too," she said of Warnock. "He was just a lot of fun."

Warnock's other interests included collecting action figures, comic books and DVDs, and he enjoyed movies.

The Pentacle memorial, which will be at 1 p.m. Nov. 28, will include a potluck, a slide show, speakers and performances. The public is invited.

No services are planned.

Herzog said donations should be made to the Valley Health & Postal Employees Credit Union, 2096 Mission St. SE, Salem 97302, care of Robert Herzog-Stephen's Fund. The proceeds will buy a Pentacle seat for Warnock, with any additional money going to the capital campaign.

Warnock is survived by his brother, Mitchell Warnock of Salem, uncles R. Keith and Kenneth Warnock of Salem and aunt Roberta Harp of Keizer.


Stephen Warnock Memorial

What: Remembrances, music, a slide show; pot luck

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 28

Where: Pentacle Theatre, 324 52nd Ave. NW, Salem

Who: Public invited

Contributions: Valley Health & Postal Employees Credit Union, 2096 Mission St. SE, Salem 97302, care of Robert Herzog-Stephen's Fund

Call: (503) 364-7121