Lara Leigh Dalbey was born June 24, 1962 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to Larry and Lyllus (Hammer) Dalbey of Hemingford, Nebraska. She left her earthly home on October 29, 2019, at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee.
In May of 1991 she was united in marriage to DeLoy Samuel Preston III in Tucson, Arizona. He preceded Lara in death.
Lara was a graduate of Alliance High School in 1980. She was active with both instrumental and vocal music. She also was one of the original members of the AHS girls’ golf team following the Title IX ruling. Alliance High was important to Lara as she was persuaded to follow her passion for the Stage. She studied at Hastings College following high school and eventually transferred to the University of Arizona to pursue her education and dream of being involved in theatre. Lara began her career in Tucson with the AKA Theatre, this is where she met her husband, Sam. Following Sam’s untimely death Lara began searching for the right fit for her talents and her passion for the stage. Her journey brought her to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lara was hired in 1999 as an assistant and eventually became a Wig Master for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre where she was named Company Member of the Year in 2015. Lara was not selfish with her talents and mentored many interns, students, and fellow cast and crew members. She also shared her talents through grants for the arts in classrooms all over the country. Her passion led her to many locations to share her gifts. She has been a member of the theatre community in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Georgia State University; and Chicago, Illinois. She had just completed another summer season for the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which we lovingly referred to as her “Wisconsin World,” consisting of her beloved family at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. The unconditional love and support given to Lara during her 20-years there as well as the same love and support shown to her family following her sudden death has sustained us during this unbearable loss. Lara was known for her kindness and compassion; she rescued a chihuahua from a puppy mill and named her Lupe’. Her patience and her unconditional love for her transformed a frightened puppy into a magnificent, dignified, spoiled diva. Lara hosted a quinceanera complete with a gown for Lupe, a taco bar (her favorite) and a nacho cheese fountain. Lara left us her earthy wit, an endless supply of raunchy jokes, tears still yet to be shed, and celebrating all of the things that she loved in her honor. How you make others feel says a lot about who you are; Lara made us all feel like we had the ability to conquer the world.
Lara is survived by her parents and her sisters Lori (Brad) Kander of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Lisa (Bob) Haas of Hemingford; her nephews and nieces Jordan (fiancee’ Lisa Welsch) of Hemingford; Kyle Dalbey of Denver, Colorado; Joseph (Mallory) Haas of Holdrege, Nebraska; Chloe Kander of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Kathryn Kander, currently of Lawton, Oklahoma, for basic training. She is also survived by the “family of her heart,” Kevin McElroy, Wayne White; their sons, Eli and Kai, and Bev Laurence. Lara also leaves behind numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and her cherished friends.
Memorial services have been scheduled at various venues. Services for Lara will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday-November 16, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church in Alliance. A memorial service will be held in Tucson, Arizona on Friday, November 15, 2019 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Nugget on 1st Avenue; North of Grant Road. A remembrance will be held this Spring in Milwaukee. Lara will be celebrated on May 25, 2020 at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Schmidt and Bartelt of Milwaukee graciously handled arrangements.
Memorials may be designated to the family c/o Lyllus Dalbey 603 Box Butte Avenue, Hemingford, Nebraska 69348 or to the donors’ choice.