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Monday, Jan. 24, 2022

Richard Sloan Folmer

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was born in Courtland, N.Y. He got an early start in theater and never outgrew it, although he expanded his platform to film and television.

At Syracuse University, he would meet the other love of his life, Ginger Darnell, while pursuing his undergraduate and master’s degrees.

They moved to New York, where Richard pursued acting until Ginger was offered a position at Centenary College in Shreveport.

The native Shreveporter stayed there until she retired. Their son, Sloan, expanded the Folmer acting family, and some aspect of their collaborations touched many local productions.

Richard’s list of local and national stage credits is too long to permit its duplication here. His accomplishments, his awards, his accolades were never as important to him as doing the work of the actor.

When news of his sudden death reached the acting community, the shock felt like a tremor. Many turned to their media platforms to express just what Richard Folmer had meant to them. Following are a few excerpts.

I will profoundly miss my friend Richard Folmer. He taught me more than I can say, was always kind, treated everyone with decency and warmth, and loved to joke around. I’m so lucky that I got to work with him in this field that we both love so much ... But mostly, I’m just happy to have known him.

– Blayne Weaver, filmmaker and actor

Richard was bitingly funny, a continual inspiration to me as an actor, and the most caring director I’ve worked with. I am humbled to have shared the theater with him.

– Eric Lincoln, actor

Some of the very best memories about Richard were getting to see him on stage, sharing his enormous talent in all of the amazing characters he brought to life. I will miss him.

– Ruth Rath, actor and drama teacher

I have known Richard Folmer since high school when I dated his son, Sloan. Richard and Ginger quickly became my second set of parents. I was also honored and blessed to be in two shows that Richard directed me in: “Little Me” and “Lunch Hour.” However, the most special relationship I had with Richard was one of friendship and mentorship.

– Heather Bryson, actor

If it was not for Richard, and Ginger, pouring into and taking a chance on Adam [Born], he would not be where he is today. I am eternally grateful for Richard (and Ginger) and cherish every moment, conversation, laugh, glance, hug and smile I had with him. I wish I had just one more!!!!

– Stephanie Born, stage mom and theater volunteer

His instructions and professional stature stuck with me, as he was singlehandily the reason I added theater acting in my life. Because of Richard, I love theater and have continued to be active in the local community 26 years later.

– Bill Pou, actor

He took you where you were as an actor and made you go to the next level. He treated and respected you so much that you would do anything to please him.

– Paul Tinker, actor and musician

He took me under his wing and taught me so much. “Play without the ball,” he would say. Meaning if you don’t have any lines, still look like you are supposed to be there.

– Roger Merritt, actor

Kindness. One of those people who you knew listened when you spoke. He wanted to hear what you had to say. He didn’t just talk to you; he talked with you.

– Rick Stovall, actor

It’s been five years now since the last time I worked on a show with Richard, but it seems like just yesterday. He was directing “Souvenir,” and it was my goal to make him laugh during rehearsals. When Richard laughed, he would guffaw and then just roll around in his chair, giggling helplessly. I loved him and his laugh. What a joy!

– Gale Odom, actor, former music professor at Centenary College

“ … He was our Peter Pan – a role he may have never portrayed on the stage – always bringing new ideas about how Theatre could connect, educate, unite and invigorate our Shreveport-Bossier community. Richard helped to create the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Arts in Education program … and after touring throughout the Northwest Region of Louisiana, he began the infamous monologue series with the Bossier Arts Council teaching students about American History-makers through role playing … or better said … portraying! Richard was a personal advisor, instigator and in so many ways a big part of my “conscience” as he always found a way to “do it” – communicate it – teach it – engage it – through Theatre. Both on and off stage, Richard was consummate! It must be said that the love affair that he and Ginger shared for so many years has created works that define our theater community.

– Pam Atchison, executive director, Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

As the patriarch of the First Family of the Theater for Shreveport and Bossier, Richard Folmer was a leader, teacher, performer, director, advisor, confidante and friend. He was an absolute professional. He was creative, decisive, funny, patient and compassionate. He was a treasure. His legacy will carry on through all of us who had the privilege of having Richard Folmer touch our lives.

– Gordon Bartage, actor, writer, attorney

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