November 4, 1942 – September 27, 2010
Warren Argo, longtime Northwest Folklife board member and friend of Folklife, suffered a heart attack and passed away on September 27, 2010. Warren was a key member of innumerable music and dance communities throughout the Pacific Northwest-and across the country as well. He was a person of many parts: fine musician, magnificent dance caller, discerning sound engineer, canny thinker, big bear-hugger, and kind, kind man. The loss we share with so many of Warren’s friends is enormous. A room always brightened when his tie-dyed-self entered.
Warren Argo was one of the constants of Northwest Folklife. No one can remember when he first became a board member-we do know he served for over twenty-five years. He was at the first Northwest Folklife Festival in 1972 and participated in each of the succeeding thirty-eight festivals. A man of many talents, he organized the schedule in the Roadhouse-Folklife’s participatory dance venue-played in several dance bands (banjo, fiddle, guitar), and called dances with considerable élan. More than once he supplied the sound system for the Roadhouse, then took his turn at the board to relieve the sound engineer. Warren was one of the seven founding members of the Northwest FolkFloor Coalition, which raised money for the Roadhouse dance floor that has been laid down and taken up for each Festival since 1987.
Warren’s generous spirit was always evident. He gave of his time to Northwest Folklife for much of the past forty years. As one former board member commented, “I can’t think of anyone who has consistently done more for the folk arts community, at every level, over such a long period of time. It’s truly devastating when the person who is ‘always there’ for everyone isn’t, anymore.”
Warren’s partner, Thelma Leuba, explained his philosophy: “He wanted to do whatever he could to increase the general grooviness of the planet.” We think he succeeded. We at Northwest Folklife will miss Warren very, very much. We mourn his death and celebrate his wonderful life.
A Facebook page has been set up for reminiscences and photos of Warren.