Sad news came through Northeast Ohio Monday as we learned that Playhouse Square preservationist Ray Shepardson had passed away. Now, his death is under investigation after Aurora, Ill. police report that Shepardson had jumped to his death on Monday from a casino parking garage.
The Chicago Tribune reports that on Monday, April 14, the 70-year-old Shepardson penned a brief goodbye note to his third wife, Nanette Thomas, then made his way to the roof of the Hollywood Casino parking garage, next to the Paramount Theatre, and took his life.
No foul play is suspected.
In the Tribune writeup, author Chris Jones said the note left behind for Thomas contained a "small group of last wishes," one of them being a Tribune obituary, written by Jones.
Shepardson's final note also included a small glimpse into his fatal Monday night decision:
"To Chicago, I wanted to die at the site of the grandest theatrical experiences I have ever had. ... I am so proud I had some small part in them. The buy two, get two shows free is my concept. My message is subscribe now! You will always remember the shows you will see at the Paramount. Memories are everything."
Plans for a local memorial service will be announced later this spring.