Amherst Magazine

Bruce H. Evans '61

Deceased May 14, 2013

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In Memory

Bruce Evans, son of E. Arnold Evans ’35, had a dream career in the humanities, serving as the director of two art museums, Dayton (Ohio) Art Institute and Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C. He had two sons with Margo Frey, Smith ’62, and a 50-year marriage duly certified by the four Amherst classmates who attended the wedding.

Bruce majored in art history and then earned an M.A. from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. He served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), including a term as president. While he was a board member, AAMD provided moral and financial support to a fellow museum director embattled over an exhibit of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. Bruce served on many American Association of Museums reaccreditation panels. He particularly enjoyed working on the acquisition by the Dayton Art Institute of the Ponderosa Co.’s contemporary art collection. He played a key role in the creation of the Mint Museum of Craft & Design. Bruce was a populist, starting, for instance, the “Experiencenter,” a participatory gallery. He had a great sense of fun, personal warmth, love of music, enthusiasm for art and strength of character.

In 2010 troubling symptoms were diagnosed as Lewy Body Dementia, but Bruce kept up his good spirits to the end. Margo tells us: “As prescribed medicines lost their effectiveness, Bruce did not like what he saw down the road. To gain some control over his future, he chose not to replace his pacemaker battery. The end was quite peaceful—similar to the way he felt when his pulse went down to 30 in 1997 and he had his first pacemaker installed. It provided several months for visits with close friends and family and calls and notes. He never once wavered in his decision throughout this period.”

Jan Beyea ’61 

 

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