Note: to find people whose badges are on the panel, see: Memorial Panel Names.
The Memorial Panels is a project created by Freeman Stamper to provide both a sense of community history, and a means for our community to honor family and friends who are no longer with us.
- providing a plan that recognizes the value deceased dancers have added to our square dance activity and to us as friends
- providing a portable display of the collection of club badges of deceased dancers
- providing a forum that is easy to maintain
- providing a forum that is a personal experience for the individuals affixing the badges
- providing an oral history of our association and the individual clubs through remembrances expressed when viewing the display
Freeman Stamper first envisioned the Memorial Panels in 1994 and the first panel appeared that year at the Stars & Squares Forever convention, held in Washington, DC.
Modeled after the AIDS Memorial Quilt panels (both are 3’ x 6’ rectangles - the approximate size of a grave), the Memorial Panel serves a different purpose. It contains the name badges of those members who have passed away, from AIDS but also other causes of death.
The first three panels were created by Gene Boemer, an artist living at the time in Rehoboth Beach, DE, in 1994, 1995 and 1996. George Fox designed and constructed special PVC piping frames to display them. Over time, the PVC-pipe frames became damaged, and were retired by 2012.
A fourth panel was added in 2009. Mae Thompson made the panel and Keith Gehrig painted it
A fifth panel is being introduced in 2022, made by Dana Cromie
Originated in 2017 by Jorge Paris, a photo archive of the panels is maintained to preserve the evolution of the panels as new badges are added. The high-resolution photographs make it easy to view a specific badge online. .
At conventions, clubs may organize a memorial service, or pinning ceremony, to remember people who have passed during the past year. Many clubs have begun holding their pinning ceremonies immediately following their club's group photo, since club members are in the same place at the same time.
There are no rules regarding where a new badge should be pinned. In many cases, especially for the older panels, badges are loosely grouped by clubs. Some dancers have multiple badges, either all in one place or distributed between the various clusters of clubs. Original badges worn by the dancer are preferred, but replacement badges are acceptable. If a new badge is made, please use the full name. It is preferred that new badges have a magnetic backing for ease in storage and transportation but pin backings are also acceptable.
If you pin a badge to the quilt, please write down that person's information in the provided notebook: name, club, panel location, date of birth, date of death. This information will be added to the Memorial Panel Names page which contains the names of all the friends whose badges are pinned to the panels. Each panel has been divided into four quadrants using a set of ribbons. This is to make it easier to locate a specific badge. For example, a badge placed on Panel 3, in the Upper Left Quadrant, will show a location of 3UL.
By 1998, the “panel” had grown to three panels and had collected 337 badges of people from 30 different organizations.
In 2019, four panels contained 832 badges representing people from 74 different organizations.
Freeman passed the maintenance and administration duties to Allan Berenstein and Dave Holy of Foggy City Dancers after the Portland 1998 convention.
In 2001, John Mckinstry and Brian Smith took over the responsibility of maintaining the panels. Thanks to their efforts, a database was created of every name on all three panels. Since then, a notebook is provided near the quilt, which contains a list of all of the names on the panels.
James Ozanich currently maintains the panels, notebook and database, assuming the position at the close of the Vancouver 2012 convention.
Memorial Panel 1, 1995. Photo courtesy of Seth Feinberg
Memorial Panel 2, 1995. Photo courtesy of Seth Feinberg
Memorial Panel 1, 2018
Memorial Panel 2, 2018
Memorial Panel 3, 2018
Memorial Panel 4, 2018
James Ozanich and Pam Clasper preparing the panels for shipping after Belles Run, 2019
Memorial Panel 5, 2022
Peter Barbour article IAGSDC Memorial Panel
Freeman Stamper article IAGSDC Memorial Panels
The Guide to IAGSDC Convention, Chapter 30 Remembering people who aren't here anymore
Article about the Memorial Panels written by Bonnie Abramson in USDA News Jul-Sep 2022, page 16
- ↑ Letter from Freeman to Allan and Dave, 16 Jan 1999
- ↑ SquareUp! (Albuquerque, NM) no.18 Spring 1999 p.13
- ↑ Freeman letter, 16 Jan 1999