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Steven H. Rasmussen

Obituary for Steven H. Rasmussen

August 8, 1950 - February 25, 2019
Aurora, Illinois | Age 68


Steven Howard Rasmussen was born on August 8, 1950. He attended public school in Glen Ellyn and later graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Eureka College in 1973. Steve moved to Aurora in 1978 and became a feature of the newly formed Riverfront Playhouse, a self-described "storefront stock company" which occupied a building on the Water St. Mall. Steve became an almost constant presence at the Riverfront over the next 40 years, as an actor, director, designer, set painter and, for a time, President of the Riverfront Board of Directors. The role for which he became best known was the title character of "Fat Bill's Roadside Café," which he reprised during each of ten different "episodes", until ill health made it impossible for him to continue.

But along with that signature role, Steve was proud of playing many different parts, including Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Vladimir in "Waiting for Godot," Caesar in "Caesar and Cleopatra," Eddie Carbone in "A View from the Bridge," Weller in "The Gin Game," Ben in "The Little Foxes," Davies in "The Caretaker," Ghost of Christmas Present in "A Christmas Carol, and most recently Professor Lyman in "Bus Stop." Steve also had a featured role in the independent movie "Heaven is Hell," playing a gun-toting Noah. Early in his career as an actor, Steve was justly celebrated for his unabashed portrayal of the Fairy Godmother in a children's theatre production of "Cinderella". He played the role in a pink tutu, with ribbons in his hair and sporting his trademark red socks. Along with the Riverfront Playhouse, Steve was involved with several other theatres in the Fox Valley, including Stage Company, the Albright Theatre, the Midsummer Theatre Troupe, the Aurora Theatre Ensemble, and the Water Street Theatre.Steve worked at American Science and Surplus in Geneva, but was able to take an early retirement. A life of contemplation came easily to someone with his myriad interests, which included the study of hermeneutics and alchemy, of which he was better informed than many professors. Steve was also one of the most devoted fans of the TV program Doctor Who – to such an extent that on his 60th birthday, his friends presented him with a cake in the shape of a TARDIS. He also was a passionate collector of comic books and an avid fan of the many movies based on comic book heroes released recently. Steve was a devotee of classical music and for many years he maintained season tickets to the Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He regarded the opportunity to perform as the narrator in Aaron Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait" with the Fox Valley Symphony as one of the highlights of his life.

Along with his other theatrical activities, Steve was the official Santa Claus for the City of Aurora for many years. With his long white hair and beard, he was often identified as Santa by children and adults – and he never once contradicted them.

Steve was preceded in death by his father and mother, Howard and Florence Rasmussen, as well as his sister, Mari Bansbach. He is survived by his niece, Amy Howard; his grandnephew and grandniece, Jareth and Kayla Howard and his niece, Jenna Bansbach (Matt Kozul). He is also survived by the many, many friends that he made in the course of his life. He was a profoundly kind and generous man, who truly seemed to exemplify Will Rogers' claim, "I never met a man I didn't like." He is much loved and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.There will be a memorial for Steve at the Riverfront Playhouse, 11-13 S. Water St. Mall, Aurora, on Saturday, March 2 from 12-5pm with a special service at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Riverfront Playhouse.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, Riverfront Playhouse.

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Healy Chapel

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Sugar Grove, IL 60554
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