In memory of Daniel Blue: A patchwork of facts, respect, admiration, appreciation, love and affection

Date: 
01/04/2013
DanBlue

UPDATE Jan. 6:
The Chicago Police Detectives indicated that they are waiting for a toxicology report which can take up to 6 weeks but there is no indication of foul play.

Described as sculptor, raconteur, friend, brother and man of mystery, Daniel Blue is dead at the age of 55. Resident in an industrial building east of Elston and near the Hide Out, Dan was found in his home Jan. 2. The cause of death has not been determined. There will be a memorial service at some point but no plans have been established.

His unexpected passing has his family, friends and colleagues in a state of shock. As they each talk about him, they all express many of the same feelings... respect, admiration, appreciation, affection, love and a terrible sense of loss. The kind of loss that opens a gaping hole in the middle of your being.

BlueSculptureWoodOakJHS

This is the sculpture created by Blue for the Wood Oak Junior High School in Northbrook

Dan was the middle child born to the late Donald and Ruth Blue, Cindy was the eldest and Tom the youngest. They grew up in Northbrook and attended Glenbrook High School. Dan continued his education at the Art Institute of Chicago.

"Big Blue, that was our nickname for him, was a great brother. We would pick on each other, but he was always there to make sure I was ok," said Tom. "As kids we were always outside having crazy fun. We played kids games that we made up with other neighborhood kids. Nobody would get hurt, it was kid stuff.

BlueSculptureWoodOakJHSSide

This is a side view of the Wood Oak Sculpture

"He was at the Art Institute of Chicago for only two years because the instructors felt they had no more to teach him. He had already purchased the machines he needed so he went off on his own. Later he spent another two years as an apprentice for other sculptors.

"Being an artist, he was on his own creative time schedule, often having many projects going at same time. He stepped back from his artwork for awhile. He decided to put his own life on a back burner to try and help others. He was a good friend to those he cared about and wasn't afraid of speaking up to others. He avoided the spotlight."

Part owner in the Sedgwick Studio, a former CTA sub-station structure in Old Town, Tom Scarff brought Dan into the studio.

"He came to my studio when he was 18. He was a talented genius, a hard worker. He was always creating and making something better. He was like a son without the blood connection.

"Dan loved kites, the crazier the better. One night he brought out [to Indiana] a huge kite. It was a foggy night we were on the beach. He attached a flare, that burned for 20 minutes, to the kite string and it sailed up high over head. Suddenly every path in the area had beams of flashlights. A friend of mine had his Russian Wolfhound with us too.

"The police, who received about 50 UFO reports, were part of the parade of flashlights. When they encountered the Russian Wolfhound they were convinced they had found the aliens! We assured them that we had meant no harm, just having some fun. As they left, they turned to Dan and said, 'Please don't do that again.'

"I'll never see another kite without thinking of Dan."

Another one of Dan's partners was John Adduci. According to him, they also formed Adduci Blue, Inc. in the early 80s. "We fabricated other sculptors' works for about four years. Dan was a great nuts-and-bolts guy, a fine craftsman. As a person, he was a perfect gentleman. He was polite and went out of his way to be a good guy." Among the sculptors for whom they fabricated was Jerry Peart, another former partner in the Sedgwick studios.

Dan's own work can be seen in Northbrook (above), in Kenosha, WI, and in Chicago.

SteveUrry

Steve Urry pieces

A more recent acquaintance of Dan's is Victor Cassidy. "I was organizing a show and writing a catalog for Steve Urry (1939-1993), a forgotten Chicago sculptor who was a friend of Dan's in the 1980s. When I needed $5,000 to be able to house the show at Oakton College, Dan was there to make it possible.

"In the show were two Urry pieces from Dan's collection. He later donated those pieces to the Oakton Museum."

"When I was trapped in my bedroom for 84 hours, it was Dan who met the police at my building and broke the front door open. The paramedics rushed me to St. Mary's," explains a grateful and healthy Joe Lake, former Wicker Park resident. "We had many happy lunches at Chicago's Italian La Scala. For dessert, Dan told the waitress, 'We'll have a cannoli, leave the gun.'"

"He was handsome, intelligent, inspiring, creative, compassionate and the most generous person I've ever known," said Debra Lewis who met Dan in 2010. "I'll never forget the roof top conversations, lunches and going to exhibits."

Dan's charm and continual interest in bringing a smile to people's faces is illustrated by Bucktown's Michele Deptula. "I had seen Dan occasionally walking past his home, but didn't know him at the time. One day, he stopped what he was doing, grabbed his pocket-knife and cut a bouquet of daylilies from the roadside for me. From then on, we'd always say hello whenever I saw him. Dan was unique and I always enjoyed his company."

"Outspoken about crime, he acted against it.," comments Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward Alderman. "He will be sorely missed.

"Dan provided us with many of the tools we use to improve the ward. He was always hands on and constantly worked to improve his part of the city."

Dan's concern for his neighbors and the community is how I got to know Dan. He was involved in attending the deleterious impact meetings for a business in his area. He was a treasure.

Please leave your thoughts and tributes below.

Photos courtesy of Debra Lewis

 

 

 

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Comments

Im sorry fer login in to this

Im sorry fer login in to this so late after his departing but with all do respect to his family an freinds likr me. I say thank u dan u so tryed to help me better my life and self. My kids still remeber him and i shur as God above will never let him be for gotin.RIP. my good man. Eric Don Cruz.sr.

Dan's Neon Beacon

Met Dan in the mid 90's and he did a lot of work for me over the years. Will not soon forget the impromptu pig roasts at the studio. He did the sculpture in front of 669 West Ohio St for me including the neon. You can see the Neon Beacon from the Ohio off-ramp of the Kennedy, day or night, rain, snow or shine. Check it out if you have not seen it. Dan you will be missed!

Daniel Blue

I met Blue (introduced as) through a metal sculptor. I was running a high-end custom woodworking shop in the south loop. The sculptor had a studio in the same building. A load of budding emerging artists were there at that time. Blue was in awe of the work we were creating, not knowing how familiar I was with his work. I was in awe to be on the same page.. We never bumped heads. Created. shared. Agreed. What an outstanding, clever, compassionate man. Thanks, Blue.

Dan Blue

He was a gallant, honorable man with a generosity of spirit that came from a truly kind heart. No one could ever ask for a better friend.

my friend dan

i spoke with Dan jan 1 and my family was in the vehicle when he called me we put him on a speaker phone my family all sang him the happy new year thing and he did back i have a statue that dan made. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. i learned a lot from dan and will never forget him i might have been one of the last people he spoke too he sounded fine.im in shock and disbelief that i called his cell phone only to go into voicemail.he had a plan to relocate and i was helping dan really impacted my life and i will never forget him he called himself henry and i the a team if it came down to it we could keep the good fight going strong the 3 of us are dangerously crafty we fixed things together that no one could we seen things no one else could due to his special flashlight.. oh yes the special flashlight.. i was just with dan and always will be i showed dan our metior hole in wis we ate at the picnic table there we rode 4 wheelers around the circle of truth dan was a great part of my life i will miss seeing him in his maroon chev pu truck turning into our driveway and his smirk on his face i think im going to ring his phone again he has always taken my call as im still in disbelief. this is going to take a while to accept

Dan Blue

I just heard the news of Dan's untimely death via a phone call from Elaine Coorens. Dan had many friends in his one-man neighborhood, and since Concept Laboratories moved to its Wabansia facility in 1996 he's been a good friend to many of us here; always helpful, always watchful and always scrupulously honest. His efforts for the Steve Urry exhibit at Oakton College last summer were integral to its success, and his affection for Urry showed. Their similarities are striking, from their art to their personalities and life stories. On behalf of Concept Labs, my condolences to his family and many friends.

My first love

I remember first meeting Dan when I was a freshman and he was a senior at Glenbrook North HS. Handsome, funny, and a tremendous talent. A few years later as I was driving home from downtown Northbrook, he saw me, and followed me home. That night he called, and we began a long relationship. He was my first love. We stayed in touch over the years and he remained a part of my life. We last spoke just before Christmas, and he sounded like his usual happy, funny, self. We talked about our time together through the 80's, how we had met, driving my parents from Chicago to Guatemala, the fashion show I organized at the studio, our times in Michigan City, and of his future plans. This is a very shocking loss for all of us who have had the pleasure, and honor of knowing him, and being around his generosity, intelligence, and loving nature. He will forever be in my heart.

a Blue story

i first met Dan, out of the blue, at a party hosted by City in River North some time in the mid '80's. we hit it off and soon became friends and professional colleagues. over the years we hired him to execute a number of very challenging and, due in large part to his expertise, successful projects. somewhere in the mid to late '90's our lives took us in directions that caused us to lose touch for a while. early in '08, i was entertaining a New York client at the Hide Out. during a lull in conversation, i asked the barkeep, 'Dan Blue used to hang here. has anyone seen him lately?' the barkeep pointed southward and replied, 'he's over there.' i walked over to a man of Dan's stature but this man was in full blown Grizzly Adams attire. i asked, 'Dan?' . . . then i saw that smile beneath scruff of facial hair. recently he and my son were planning to build a bicycle. i was at their first planning meeting where Dan commanded, again with that smile, 'if you're going to work with me, you'll learn everything about the metal, the weld, the machine and why the ladies would be attracted to you because of what we're doing.' he was a master of his craft, an expert in knowing how to help those he cared for and now he remains an omnipresent soul. my life is richer for having known him.

Generosity and Love

Dan made a very large impact in my life. When I met him, I never quite knew what to make of him. But, he had me already figured out. He always invited me to lunch with many interesting people. He always introduced me as his lawyer. This was always so funny, because I felt so much more like his friend and I admired his spirit considerably. In fact I felt like the lord had blessed me with his acquaintance: He was a real-life person who could not be restrained from getting what he wanted. He was definitely a hero. The heros of Spaghetti Westerns had nothing on Mr. Blue. When we would chum around it always felt like I was out with Hunter S. Thompson or a Wrestler like Gorgeous George from yesteryear. What I learned about him was how much he really loved people. He was so very chivalrous towards women and cared deeply for his elders. He made a habit of asking about my older folks out of concern. Once when I had not returned his telephone calls he contacted the local authorities to track me down out of concern. I get fairly sentimental over it all because I considered him to be an older brother with a very mischievous side that drew me even closer to him. He was so full of life that occasionally I would forget that there was a slight age difference between us. He was like the really cool kid you would find in the back of the class that was a bit too bright to be in the actual class and had everything figured out. He could really spin a tall tale and he would fascinate my family chock-full of foreigners when we would meet out with them. He was simply a reneissance man who lived under principles of his own. I dabbled in art, so having an associate and friend like him seemed so very cool and awe-inspiring. For some reason when we would go out, we would always find ourselves in the company of either sports celebrities or very pretty ladies--even in the most non-descript of places. I really like that he drew these types out. He cared little for sports celebrities so he kind of enjoyed having odd conversations with them just to see their reaction to him. I always acted like the younger brother trying to impress the older brother with outlandish behavior just to make the guy smile. It was a smile I'd say that really brightened up the entire room. In the weirdest ways his blue eyes, adventurous spirit and hearty laugh made me recall my beloved and late grandfather: I think I divulged that to him once, to which he probably exclaimed: Cool or something of the like. He was so genuine in caring about other people and their cultures that he probably appreciated that comment. He really would always try to understand others that were foreign to him and exhibit a familiar ground to them. Now that I think of it, he was almost mythical. But, then, there is that warm humanity that carries with it the spirit of the Lord. What really brought us together was the man's great heart. He sincerely loved everyone and was always out to help others in whatever way he could. I thought that I would have him near forever and I guess I was right. His spirit will live long in my heart and mind: he always cheered me up when I was down, and I will have to wait until I find him in heaven one day, and witness that wry smile that he always had. But his spirit dwells on this earth as do his sculptures. I have mad love for this guy and I am sure that anyone who came across him will say the same. He made his impression on the world and cared not for any recognition. May his spirit live long in heaven and may the good lord watch over him. Much love goes out to his brother and sister that he spoke so fondly of. You two are such wonderful people and he loved you so.

I am saddened and shocked. I

I am saddened and shocked. I loved his character. He was generous, kind and a great story-teller.

So sad, and such a surprise.

So sad, and such a surprise. Thank you for the article. His presence, his smile, and his generous spirit will be missed so much.

Dan Blue...

We're all hurting.. Joe Lake, Chicago

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