Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
After battling cancer for almost three years, my dear friend Don Braunagel died June 3. He was 72.
Don recorded his journey in a blog on the site "Caring Bridge." Though he called himself "Indomitable Don," he fought with such unassuming courage you'd swear, even against growing negative odds, he'd pull through somehow.
Don has been a theater critic in San Diego for 31 years: first for the Tribune, then San Diego Magazine and most recently with sandiego.com. He also wrote freelance reviews for the Los Angeles Times, Variety, and Daily Variety.
He was one of the eight founding members of the original San Diego Theater Critics Circle in 1983.
Always upbeat and temperate, Don had a button people liked to push. Just say "fair and balanced" - the motto of Fox News - and off he'd go. The lifelong journalist (with a degree on the subject from Michigan State) called it "Faux News," and loathed its "slanted, pseudo-reporting."
His own reviews were a model of fair and balanced criticism - and smart, and knowledgeable, and enamored to the core with live theater.
Don had been married to wife Yolanda for almost 27 years. You could tell by their body language alone - always slightly tilted toward each other - they had the kind of marriage you'd pray for. Five days before he passed away, Don told Yolanda, "If I die in my sleep tonight, I will die happy because my family is here and I know they and my friends love me."
Always will, Don.
There will be a memorial service on Saturday, June 18, one o'clock in the Coast Room and Terrace of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla.
Don would have approved of the site. It's where the critics circle holds its annual award ceremony, and where Don, when presenting a Craig Noel, couldn't help but crack a wry joke or two.