"Robert is a light that has so benefitted our community," said Linda Henderson, candle in hand.
"He was such a good friend to all the people here. It's a void now that he's gone."
It's a void left by gallery owner and Old Town pioneer Robert Busby. He was found dead in his gallery Tuesday afternoon.
"He always had a smile for everyone he met," said one mourner at the vigil for the man many say built Old Town Lansing into what it is today.
"Old Town has become a focal point for the arts in the community," Roy Saper said. "We all owe a debt of gratitute to Robert and what he was able to achieve."
Saper remembers Busby not just as a fellow a fellow gallery owner but as a good friend for decades.
"Robert was a special person because he listened ... He saw potential in people. He saw the creative spirit in people. He saw the good in people," Saper said.
"We all need to see and do more of that."
So many in this neighborhood he took a chance on 30 years ago say Busby is the kind of person we need more of.
"His absence demonstrates to us what we're all capable of doing for each other," Henderson said. "He's just a marvelous human being. And the world will miss him here."
The neighborhood should have a permanent reminder of Busby, Mayor Virg Bernero says.
He'd like to name the brand new bridge over the Grand River in Old Town after Busby.
It's a fitting tribute, some friends say. But an even better one? Supporting artists and the arts community he worked to build.
"He was about wanting to bring art to you," Suellen Hozman said.
A memorial service for Busby is scheduled for next Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Dart Auditorium on the campus of Lansing Community College.
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