Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mark O'Shaughnessy 1952 - 2017

Funeral services are set for Mark O'Shaughnessy, founder and co-owner of the St. Louis venue BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

O'Shaughnessy, a longtime advocate for St. Louis music and musicians who opened the first of the club's three incarnations back in 1976, died Saturday, May 27 in his apartment above BB's of complications of diabetes. He was 65.

Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. this Thursday, June 1 at Kutis Affton Chapel, 10151 Gravois Road. A funeral will be held at 9:15 a.m. Friday, June 2 at Affton Chapel, followed at 10:00 a.m. by a Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 4092 Blow Street.

BB's operations manager and partner John May told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson that the club will continue business as usual. While O'Shaughnessy (pictured) had announced plans to retire this year, negotiations to buy his share of the BB's business were still underway at the time of his death, May told StLJN.

On a personal note, I knew Mark for more than 35 years, first meeting him when I was one of about 15 audience members for a show by the great singer Betty Carter during BB's second chapter in the early '80s. Although we weren't close friends, he was very encouraging of my efforts in music and journalism over the years - as he was for countless others - and it was always good to see him and talk, however briefly. The St. Louis music scene and the musicians who inhabit it certainly owe him a "thanks" and a debt of gratitude, and though he'll be missed, he'll be remembered fondly.

Mark O'Shaughnessy is survived by his mother, Frances M. O’Shaughnessy of St. Louis; four daughters, Heather O’Shaughnessy of Maui, HI, Kerensia Blackman of Jefferson County, and Kelly Slavin and Megan Steen of St. Louis; a son, Richard VanGelder of Omaha, NE; and five grandchildren.

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