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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Most Fitting Send-Off for Verne Langdon.

The late great Verne Langdon's memorial service: 01/25/2011

The cover of Verne's memorial booklet

The intimate service began with Verne's varied musical pieces played through the sound system at the little chapel at Pierce Brother's Valhalla in Burbank, CA. Calliope, piano, organ, lounge, haunting, funny. As disparate as Verne's talents. Many familiar faces filed into the pews. After a brief prayer, Dawn Langdon Karrash (Verne's ex-wife and best friend) read an amazing eulogy that touched on the many facets of Verne. It was as touching and funny as the very spirit of Verne himself.

Special people of importance in Verne's life

Verne's silver urn was displayed before a gigantic white wreath next to the dais. Dawn's daughter, Verne's niece, made a very personal and poetic speech about Verne losing his father in a commuter plane crash when he was young. She recalled some of the same premonitions the day Verne left us. Uncle Jim Warren was remembered in the honorary pallbearer's list, although he and some other's on that list were not able to attend in person.

Verne would have loved it. Tears. Laughs. Cheers.

The service was short and sweet but so very rich in legacy and emotion. Dawn did an amazing job of making all of us understand just how much Verne loved us. Once Aaron Shaw's bagpipe had sweetly blared Amazing Grace, the crowd disbursed and all were invited to give further tribute at the Magic Castle. It was great to be there with friends Casey and Rhonda Wong, Dan Roebuck and Eliot Brodsky who'd flown in from the East for the occasion.

Big or small, all of us die only once. When a special person like Verne Langdon leaves us: artist, wrestler, clown, musician, writer, magician, bon vivant, orator and friend - we get one chance to memorialize him. This modest, eloquent service was perfect. At the end of it, the audience spontaneously applauded. Unconventional for a funeral, but absolutely appropriate for Verne Langdon's funeral. He would have insisted on it!


  1. I sure wish I'd been there to help celebrate his life (and exorcise my grief at his passing), but I am very happy to read this, and hear about you (and Casey and Danny and Eliot and...) sharing in the love and the tribute.
    Thanks for writing this and helping me be there in spirit.

  2. It sounds like it was a lovely service. Hi Joe Moe, this is Artie Heinrich. We met at Forry's House one time. I was with Verne that day. I just wanted to clear one thing up about Dawn's Eulogy; Tom Guth was NOT the person who discovered that Verne had passed away. That honor, was mine. I was the one who spent the final moments with Verne. Not certain why Dawn chose to omit that bit of information, or why she decided to NOT invite me to the Funeral (seeing as I was the person to call Tom, her, the Police, the Mortuary) but after hearing that she did indeed change the facts, I just wanted to set the record straight. Also, he died on January 2nd, 2011. I found him having passed away in his sleep, with a smile on his face, and his covers pulled up to his chin, at 2:30am on January 2nd, not 1st. I also took the final photo of Verne alive. If you go to torosviews.com, and look for his Blog titled " **UPDATED** My dear friend, Verne Langdon is gone. " you'll find the photo I am talking about. I've known Verne since 1992, and we've been close ever since then. Oddly enough, he didn't WANT a Funeral. That was on Dawn's insistence. He DID want what took place at the Magic Castle,so at least that was right. Just wanted to set the facts straight, from the person who was REALLY there in the End for Him. ~Artie Heinrich, therealartie@yahoo.com

  3. Artie,
    It is such a lovely thing to have you here and to be able to thank you for your personal participation in making Verne's quality of life better, until the very end, and for looking out for him as you did. I know all too well what it's like to be at ground zero for such a profound loss. All of us who loved Verne owe you a debt of gratitude for being there when we couldn't. I know nothing of the dynamics or politics of Verne's family or other friendships. I only know that I loved him and I am deeply sorry that you weren't present at the memorial. I hope it is some comfort to you that you were with him at the end.
    Your pal,

  4. Uncle Verne was a BIG part of my life for the last 6/7 years. He was my mentor, teacher, cheerleader, press agent, family and most of all my friend.

    We would talk endlessly about everything, he was my rock when my mother passed, and we were in in contact with each other the last day he was with us, 1-1-11.
    I know that he will forever be looking down from Heaven and smiling upon us all.

    He always encouraged me, was always in my corner and was so proud of me when I completed my research on Bozo "The Capitol Clown."
    Verne was my biggest fan who always saw the best in me and believed in me no matter what.
    Even when I made mistakes, he would correct me and knew I would do my best. He introduced me to amazing people, and Verne coined the title of my book for me; "The Bozo chronicles." He was a true fan of the original Bozo (pinto Colvig) and along with myself we made up "The Art Larue (The Circus Cop) Fan Club."
    When he received his advance copy of the book he called me his hero,...and told me of his pride and love for me.

    I will forever be blessed to have had him in my life and as a friend who was always there for me. No matter what I will never be able to fill the void he filled in my life,...Verne kept me going when I did not think I could by calling me at all hours,...and talking about life and everything else. He NEVER forgot his friends.

    I love you so VERY much Uncle Verne and will miss hearing you telling me, "Love you Kiddo More Later."
    I know I will see you again,...You are now playing the BIGGEST SHOW with all the greats with the spotlight on you.

    GOD Bless you pal,..."More Later."

    Tom Holrook