FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK — February has brought the loss of April Armbrust, one of the first full-time employees to work for Venues Today, and Ed Deckard, the father of publisher Linda Deckard, within a week of one another.

April Armbrust, 41, joined Venues Today in 2004. We connected immediately during her interview. She was going through changes and career choices, a divorce and a redirection. Plus, she was from Back East, like me.

She told me her career goal, protesting shyness, was to become a mortician. She later abandoned that for accounting and, most importantly, motherhood. She worked our Hot Tickets database, bookkeeping and finally marketing, quadrupling up as human resources manager. There was nothing she couldn’t do.

April also kept developing in her personal life, finalizing her divorce thus changing her name from Stroud back to her maiden name, Parnell, and later, finding the love of her life and becoming Mrs. Curt Armbrust, all while holding down a very demanding job at Venues Today.

Being a wise and committed woman, she opted to move on when she and Curt were blessed with Peyton, now six, our adopted Venues Today daughter. Peyton is a bright and gifted child, quite at home in adult company, with a most compelling personality. Curt and April and Peyton came to all of our Christmas parties they could handle.




Above: VT on the road: Natasha Emmons; Sherry Dubay; Pauline Davis, Linda Deckard, Sue Nichols and April Parnell Armbrust; Curt & April Armbrust at a VT Christmas party. (VT Photos)

We sorely missed April in the office. Now we miss her in our lives. But her impact on our lives remains and she is always in our thoughts and hearts, her beautiful smile and her girlish giggle and her joy in family.

I can still hear her yell across the office, “Is that my job too?” The answer was always yes and the job always got done well.

Ed Deckard was at the other end of life, dying at the age of 98. My dad was a bureaucrat. And a powerful one. We grew up on his two-acre homestead in Annandale, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., and none of his four children grasped how important he was.

It fell to me to write his obituary, tracing his life growing up on a farm in Lyons, Ind., where we will lay him to rest Friday, Feb. 12 having earned his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University, which two of his daughters later attended, and his master's at the University of Cincinnati. He joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and the federal government as a management analyst soon after.

He worked for various government agencies, finally in the Executive Offices, Bureau of Management and Budget. He was top grade without being a political appointee. His favorite president was probably Ronald Reagan. Politics was a dear love, followed by farming, or vice versa.

The smell I associate first with my dad, dare I say it, is manure. He was an organic farmer before it was popular – 70 years ago. His car often hauled a trailer full of manure. He didn’t believe in the bagged stuff. He didn’t think it ever saw the other end of a cow. And he was particular whether it was cow or horse. He knew manure.

Maybe that’s what made him so good at government. Dad, I’m sorry. He was witty. I think he would smile.

We miss them both dearly and now, just in, I hear from our copy editor, Pauline Davis, that yesterday morning her sister (and VT assistant copy editor) fell down the stairs and took her last breath. Our sincere condolences to Pauline. Mary was part of our family as well. She knew what to do with a comma and a hyphen, better than any of us. And she loved reading and editing, cooking and cats.

I’m officially renaming February 2016. It’s Febru-bury.

Fare thee well, good friends. Memory Eternal April, Ed and Mary.