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Robert DeVoe Obituary

Robert DeVoe

July 21, 1933 - October 30, 2018

With the death of Robert C. DeVoe, Southern Oregon lost a truly humane man, an exquisite artist, and a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Bob was born in Canyonville, Oregon, in the depths of the Depression, to parents Perry Jean and Clarice Azalea (Totten) DeVoe. He lived in Days Creek as a child. The family relocated to Medford, and he was educated in Medford schools, graduating from Medford High School in 195l. In 1953 he entered the U. S. Airforce and served until 1957, becoming a Staff Sergeant. He became fluent in Russian language while studying at the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, California.

Bob was artistic from an early age. During his youth he was one of two Medford students chosen to attend a prestigious summer program for young Oregon artists. He had hopes of a scholarship in art to Southern Oregon College, but when one failed to materialize, he became an English major. Following his graduation from SOC he earned a Masters Degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. He then entered a PhD program in English at the University of Oregon but did not complete a degree there.

While an undergraduate he met, fell in love with, and married Donna Gayel McCullough in 1952. Four children were born of that union: Robert, John, Laura, and Mark. After twenty years the marriage faltered, ending in divorce.

Bob was encouraged to apply for a position in English, and in 1964 he began what proved to be a twenty year career at SOC as a professor, teaching writing, world literature, and 18th Century British prose and poetry. Early in his career he taught courses for Project Prometheus, an experimental living and learning program for exceptionally able students. Bob also served the Department of English as Coordinator of Writing for several years. Colleagues charged with evaluating Bob's teaching praised him as a teacher of exceptional ability and dedication. Bob greatly enjoyed his first career as a teacher, but by the early 1980s he was ready to begin a second career, this time as an artist.

He was encouraged in his decision by Carol McNair, a colleague in English whom he married in 1975. A warm friendship, begun in 1971, blossomed into devoted love. They found great happiness in one another. The beautiful art Bob created over a period of twenty-five years had its corollary in the beauty of their relationship. They delighted in being together, and their lives were filled with vibrant good humor, wit, laughter, love of books, lively conversation, and solicitude for one another's well-being. She championed his work, was wholly proud of him.

Beauty was a natural expression of their lives on Taylor Street. Visitors to the house admired flowers blooming on the deck, enjoyed the antics of song birds and squirrels, and, in the living room, admired the play of morning light among lovely works of art created by Bob and by others whose work he and Carol admired. The larger world began seeing his remarkable work when Judy Howard's Howard Hanson Gallery, in Ashland, first showed his paintings in 1982. Howard Hanson and the Franklin and Struve Gallery in Chicago became official representatives of his work. During Bob's illustrious career his paintings were included in major exhibitions and collections across America. His painting of Grizzly Mountain, near Ashland, was chosen for the cover of "The Artist and the American Landscape," a book sold in museum bookstores. He is most noted for his extraordinary, light-filled, still-life paintings. They ravish the eye. Those knowledgeable about art believe Bob belongs among the best American Masters painting in the genre of Realism.

Beautiful work. A well-lived life.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Donna, son Rob, and daughter Sandoval McNair. He is survived by his children: sons John DeVoe (Cinda) and Mark DeVoe, and daughters Laura Boone and Amy McNair; by grandchildren Gabriel DeVoe (Kristi Miller), Jordyn DeVoe (Brian Rowbotham), Kaydee Boone Larsen, Calhoun Boone and Kamryn Boone; and great-grandchildren Owen, Amelia, and Ariel DeVoe.

No memorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers the families request that donations be made to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in memory of Carol McNair and Robert DeVoe.





For more information, contact: Jeanne Stallman, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement, dce@sou.edu.


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