Robert “Bob” Edward Graves
February 2, 1929 ~ October 5, 2013
Robert “Bob” Edward Graves, well-known artist and teacher, passed away peacefully in his home in Seattle, WA on October 5, 2013. He was with his wife, Marcia Van Doren and daughter, Jody Graves. Bob was born in Spokane, WA on February 2, 1929, was a graduate of North Central High School, and then attended Whitworth College, where he graduated with his bachelor degree in Fine Arts in 1952. He worked as a Display Director for The Bon Marche in Spokane from 1948 until 1956 and was the designer of the Madonna stained glass figure that has been on display every Christmas since 1955. He also worked for the Bon Marche in Seattle as an Interior Designer from 1956-62, during which time he attended the University of Washington as a graduate teaching assistant and received his Masters Degree in Fine Arts in 1962. Bob then took a position as art instructor at Wenatchee Valley College, where he served in that capacity for 32 years (1962-1994). He also taught as a guest lecturer at the Leicester Polytechnic, Leicester, England (1971-72), and served as a guest artist at USC Los Angeles (1986-87). Over the years Bob received numerous accolades and awards for his art work and in addition to the northwest region, had pieces displayed in national shows in places such as; San Diego, San Francisco, Alaska, New York, Kansas, Australia, Hawaii, Argentina, Spain, England and Norway. He was a member of Northwest Printmakers and a regular contributor to ‘Art in Public Places’. Bob was awarded the Katherine B. Baker Memorial Award given at the Seattle Art Museum’s Northwest Annual Exhibition in 1957 and had been affiliated with the SAM’s Rental/Sales gallery since 1970. Additionally, art works by Bob were selected for the office of the Honorable Thomas Foley, (Speaker of the House) Washington D.C. in 1971.
Bob is survived by his wife, Marcia Van Doren, also a recognized visual artist. Together they have enjoyed painting and printmaking in their Seattle and Whidbey Island studios and many times had their work shown together in art shows around the region. Bob and Marcia also enjoyed traveling to Hawaii each year, spending time on the Pacific coast together, visiting art shows and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Throughout his tenure he taught hundreds of students, and his encouraging and positive approach to teaching and guiding artists of all ages is a legacy that will continue for years to come. Dad was especially known for helping students realize their potential, not just as artists, but as valued people in society. His energy and passion for creating art and providing a space for art to be shown, led to his founding of ‘Gallery ‘76’ in Wenatchee, now re-named the ‘Robert Graves Gallery’.
In addition to his wife, Robert is survived by his five children, Jody Graves (Fred Manhart, husband), Paul Graves (Becky Riddle, wife), Mary Shemaria (Mike Shemaria, husband), John Graves, Lisa Fickel (Mark Fickel, husband) and five grandchildren, Alex, Hannah, Alyssa, Madelyn, and Camden.
A Celebration of Bob’s life will be held at The ‘Robert Graves Gallery’ in Wenatchee, WA on Sunday, November 10 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. in Sexton Hall. The family invites you to come and share music, food, stories and memories. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Graves Gallery. We remember Bob as a loving, encouraging, interested and talented man who touched so many people. As a husband, father, teacher and artist we thank him for being in our lives. We will miss him dearly and love him always.
So in the words of a song Dad loved:
“…I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”