Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center has announced a substantial legacy gift from the estate of longtime patrons Jene and Isabelle Dupzyk, who left a home they owned in Livermore to the organization.
The home has been appraised at approximately $700,000, which makes the gift one of the largest received as well as the first legacy gift for the arts center.
"They chose the most meaningful way possible to make an impact," LVPAC Executive Director Chris Carter said in a statement.
The Dupzyks were regular attendees at Bankhead Theater performances and made routine contributions over the years besides purchasing numerous tickets. They appreciated a wide range of the arts, from African drumming and mariachi music to Russian ballet and Chinese acrobats. They enjoyed music from the blues guitar of Jimmie Vaughn to the Western songs of Riders in the Sky, and were particularly loyal to the classical music concerts presented by Del Valle Fine Arts and Livermore-Amador Symphony.
Isabelle Dupzyk died April 15, 2018, and Jene on Oct. 29, 2019. Their legacy gift comes at a time of tremendous financial challenges since the Bankhead Theater has been closed since early March due to COVID-19, noted Carter, making it all the more momentous.
"The Dupzyks' gift could not have come at a more critical time for us," he said.
Rich Buckley, a friend and neighbor of the Dupzyks for 40 years, added that the timing is symbolic of their generosity.
"Jene and Isabelle loved the performing arts. Going out to the theater was a special event for them," Buckley said. "And Isabelle had an expansive heart, she always wanted to take care of the people and things that mattered to her if they were in need. It would have meant so much to them to know just how big a difference they've made with this gift."
Jene and Isabelle Dupzyk were both scientists, who had long careers at Lawrence Livermore Labs. They met in graduate school and were fascinated by the intersection of science with the world. Jene's broad interests included classic cars and his own hand-built seismograph, while Isabelle was a deft seamstress in her spare time, and they both loved and raised German shepherd dogs. Married for 60 years, they enjoyed doing everything together, especially going to concerts and shows.
Longtime friend Joan Intersimone says the Dupzyks were delighted when the Bankhead Theater opened so they "no longer had to go into the city" and they looked forward to the announcement of each season, carefully picking which shows they wanted to attend.
"Jene and Isabelle would dress up and drive over, sometimes as much as two hours early to get the best parking spot, then head into the theater, greeting staff, volunteers and friends as they made their way to their favorite seats," Intersimone recalled.
The Dupzyks names will be engraved on the seats in row R where they spent so many enjoyable hours.