W. Travis Selmier
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W. Travis Selmier passed away on November 23, 2019 at the age of 85, after the long good-bye that is the Alzheimer's experience. Travis was born in 1934, the first child of Thomas and Charlotte Wise Selmier. He was joined by a brother, Dean, four years later. He began playing violin at the age of four and entertained his mother's Pi Omicron sorority sisters at many of their national meetings. He attended Orchard School, graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1952 and Butler University in 1957 where he majored in and taught dance. He performed with the Fort Wayne Light Opera Festival in the summer of 1954 and returned to Indianapolis where he became active with the Catholic Theater Guild and co-founded Footlite Musicals. He married in 1954 and had three children, Travis II, Rod and Lisa. He served in the Air Force 1957-1960. Returning to Indianapolis, he was a floor manager at WFBM-TV6 before founding Intro Productions. He also managed three summer seasons at the Zaring Theatre, producing, directing and casting talent such as Tallulah Bankhead, and an unknown Jane Alexander.
Travis was approached in 1962 by Alan Clowes and his family to manage the new performing arts center being built on the campus of Butler University in their name. Travis opened Clowes Memorial Hall in October 1963 and, for seven years, booked touring Broadway shows and solo musical acts. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra was in residence. The performers he recalled most fondly included Mary Martin, Robert Preston and Helen Hayes from Broadway, and non-Broadway talent Liberace, Johnny Carson, Peter Paul & Mary, Patrice Munsel, Victor Borge and Marlene Dietrich. As many as 250 shows per year were presented.
After his marriage ended in divorce, he moved to Florida and California where he specialized in real estate management, dance instruction and theatre production.
In 1981, he moved to New York City to join Artec Consultants, the Clowes Hall acousticians. He worked as lead Theatre Planner on such projects as the Morton H. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and others.
In 1984, he married Elaine Conway and in 1993 they moved back to Indianapolis where Travis formed Cultural Services Corporation to introduce school children to the performing arts. In 2013, he and Elaine retired to Scottsdale, Arizona.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Dean, son Rod, grandson Grant as well as half-brothers Tom and Frank and half-sister Rosemary Wesselman. He is survived by his wife Elaine, son Travis (Madeleine), daughter Lisa (David) Cunningham, and three grandchildren, Jason Selmier, and Shannon and Gabriella Cunningham. A memorial service and interment will be held at Crown Hill Cemetery in the spring. Contributions to the Culver Educational Foundation are welcome.
Published in the The Indianapolis Star from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 2019
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