Lebermann Memorial Celebration a Feast of Great Stories

July 19, 2009

Beloved Austinite Lowell Lebermann’s memorial service  Thursday afternoon on the UT campus  produced a lot of tears–but most of them were from laughter of the throng of admirers who packed the LBJ Library Auditorium. All of the speakers shared personal stories about some experience with the popular former City Councilman and University of Texas Regent.

 UT president Bill Powers, former Lebermann aide Cappy McGarr, former Lt. Governor and close friend Ben Barnes and former UT President Larry Faulkner all sprinkled humor amidst touching tributes to his brilliance, courage, leadership and generosity to the community.  Then, before delivering the benediction, Bishop John E, McCarthy recalled when he first met Lebermann, who was a Catholic.  “He was very gracious and told me he would help me,”  McCarthy said. “Then  he quickly added, ‘–but you need to know I’m not a fanatic’.”

Lebermann’s will insisted on a party after the service at Austin’s downtown power center, the Headliners Club. There, the city’s establishment toasted  their dear friend and swapped more tales that help lighten their loss.  But Lebermann would have been most touched by two other gestures of the day:  the UT Longhorn Band playing “The Eyes of Texas” to close the service, and the  UT Tower glowing orange in final tribute to him that night.

–Julian Read

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