Brian MacQueen
1957 - 2021
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Brian MacQueen

Iowa City - Brian MacQueen passed suddenly this week at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City surrounded by his family and friends. It was a peaceful, graceful departure in keeping with Brian's beautiful heart and deep spiritual confidence in the Life Eternal. He was 63 years old.

Brian was the youngest of six children of Dr JC MacQueen and Gertrude MacQueen, both longtime residents of Iowa City. He grew up in Iowa City graduating from West High School as class president in 1975 and then graduated from the University of Iowa in Theatre in 1980. Brian worked for the Transcendental Meditation movement in Washington DC with his wife Kristel Bach who he married in 1982. They later divorced. For years, on his own time Brian wrote, designed, directed, produced, and engineered a number of radio plays that were featured on National Public Radio playhouse as well as his charming children's radio show "Chip the Squirrel" written for his beloved nephew Will. For this work at NPR, Brian received an International Award for Radio Theatre, an achievement he was understandably very proud of.

Brian also trained as a paramedic and served in that capacity for some years before being accepted to the Yale School of Drama where he graduated with an MFA in Technical Design in 2000.

Brian worked in a number of prominent theatre houses around the country as head sound designer and teacher until he returned to teach at Yale for a few years. After Yale, he went to South Korea to teach at Dongguk University in Seoul. He was an outstanding teacher and deeply loved by his students for his passionate interest in the development of their artistic skills. He taught from a level of enthusiasm and encouragement.

In 2009 Brian generously returned to Iowa City to help care for his aging parents until their deaths and then moved to Fairfield Iowa where he became Technical Director at the Sondheim Center. He then began a journey of cycles of poor health from which he would miraculously recover, determined to carry on with his life and work much to the amazement of his family and friends. The last few years of his life were filled by his theatre work at the Walton Performing Arts Facility in Fayetteville, Ark., the Coralville Arts Center, caregiving jobs in Fairfield, and his deep participation in the life of his family. He had just been rehired at the Sondheim Center when he became ill for the last time.

Endowed with great humor, a brilliant mind and creative genius, Brian was always a standout personality and we will miss him in all the large and small ways he touched us. Brian loved kayaking, biking, reading (especially Shakespeare) and celebrations of all kinds. He was a tender-hearted person who always sought to protect the feelings of others and lived deeply from his spiritual life that was a more private miracle that shown on those of us near him.

Brian leaves a bereaved family: Jennifer (Doug) Hamilton of Fairfield, Debra (Stephen) MacQueen of Kneeland California, John (Nancy) MacQueen of Palm Springs, California, Susan MacQueen of Davenport Iowa. Nephews/nieces: Will (Lizzy) Hamilton of Fairfield, Mila Hamilton of Minneapolis, MN, Dr John (Lori) Hartman of Bettendorf, IA, and Gabriel (Reiko) Hartman of Davenport, IA and six great nieces/nephews. He was preceded in death by his oldest sister Candace MacQueen and his parents.

Donations in Brian's name can be made to the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield Iowa.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Iowa City Press-Citizen from Mar. 4 to Mar. 5, 2021.
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5 entries
April 8, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of Brian's passing. We grew up together in Manville Heights and were in the same class at Lincoln, Central, and West. Brian was always the smartest kid in the class -- and the fastest runner! I remember many long nights of conversation as kids. He was a teacher to me and I am sure to many, many others who knew him. His intellectual curiosity and ambition were an inspiration. I remember his brilliance, his kindness, his wonder at the world, and his sense of humor. I also remember how much he admired his older siblings. Sending my thoughts and sympathies to all.
Jim Lindberg
March 16, 2021
I went to Yale with Brian, and fondly remember his kindness and generosity of spirit. I was so saddened to hear of his passing. Prayers with you all.
Christina (Geyer) Phillips
March 8, 2021
I haven't seen Brian since we were kids growing up at Lincoln & Central.
We always had a good time. Was hard to keep up with him. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. God Bless
David Larsen
March 7, 2021
Shocked and saddened by his passing, I will remember Brian for the times spent on the stage of the little theater at West high school. He was a beautiful person with a heart of gold and unoffending humor. My condolences to his family, friends and all who were touched by this wonderfully gifted man.
Arden Svoboda
March 4, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. I went to high school with Brian and he was always one of my favorite people! So talented and gifted!
Dyan Kriener
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