On April 17, 2020, Bob lost his hard-fought battle with cancer and the effects of the chemo used to treat it. He was the only child of Wilbert and Virginia Belfance of Crainsville, N.Y. 85- Year- old Bob started his theater career in upstate New York as a 9 year-old radio actor. After graduation from Ithaca college, he headed to NYC to work and train further as a theater director. After marrying and having their 1st child, a job was offered to him in Ohio to be the 1st resident professional Artistic & Managing Director of the formerly all volunteer Weathervane Community Playhouse. This meant that he would run the business end of the theater, as well as directing 7 shows a season. Ohio sounded like a good place to raise children. He accepted, set to work in Akron, and within 5 years Weathervane was ranked one of the top 3 non-professional theater in Ohio. He promised to build the group a bigger venue. Keeping his promise, the current Weathervane opened in 1970 in Cuyahoga Valley. During this time, a group of dedicated volunteers asked Bob to manage and help save the old Lowes Movie Theater- now the Akron Civic Theater - from the wrecking ball and becoming another downtown parking lot. Thanks to Bob and the group, the beautiful old " movie palace" remains one of Akron's unique gems. Bob has directed over 250 plays and musicals, written and directed award- winning documentaries films for Omnibus Film Productions, of which he was part owner, and owned and operated the Priscilla Beach Summer Theater in MA. He worked with the young Alan Alda and Alan's late father, Robert, Ray Wise, Howard daSilva and other well-know professionals. Bob and Carol also co- produced murder mystery overnights at the old Quaker Square Hilton Hotel in the 1980s. For many years Bob also served on the Ohio Arts Council. Bob and Carol ran the Outback Inn bed & breakfast for 10 years in McConnelsville, OH. Bob leaves his devoted wife of 38 years, Carol; his 3 children, Leslie Belfance of Columbus (Carla), Eve Belfance- Colford of Akron (Christopher) and Mark Belfance of Denver ( Marna). In addition, his step son, Jason Policy ( Colleen) of Stow; grandchildren, Christopher, David and Anna Belfance of Denver, William and Sophia Belfance-Colford of Akron and Katie Belfance of Columbus. Bob Was a talented director who brought so much more to a venue than what appeared in script. Actors who worked with him found their work expanded and beautifully enhanced-his creativity was generous and "catching". Doing a production for Bob was always a delightful learning experience. Whatever was happening, it was always more fun if Bob was involved. So light a candle or raise a glass in honor of Bob. He was a never-ending source of joy. His family wishes to thank Summa Hospice and also the dedicated staff of Ohio Living Rockynol, Gifts in Bob's name to Ohio Living Rockynol would be welcomed.
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Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Apr. 19, 2020.