Don Sprague

Members Remembered

Long-time OPA member Connie Earnshaw passed away in November. She earned a BA in Biology from Reed College, an MFA in Ceramic Sculpture from Portland State University, an MA in Chinese Art History from the University of Oregon and was a PhD candidate in Chinese Art History at the University of Washington. She exhibited in many galleries and solo exhibitions. Her sculptures of kneeling goddesses sprout abundant tree-of-life vines, and her plates and bowls sport images of Victorian homes and of perky animals. Never stodgy, her art is her abundant laughter made visible. As adjunct professor at Portland State University, she taught Asian art history, including Chinese and Japanese landscape painting, ceramics and figure painting. She also taught at Lewis & Clark College, University of Portland, Clark College, Portland Community College and the UofW. She inspired students at the Multnomah Arts Center, where she was assistant studio manager and ceramics instructor since 1996. Connie is survived by her husband, Shiaw Yen Lui; and brother and sister of San Gabriel Valley, Calif., Edward and Patricia Earnshaw. A public gathering was held earlier in the month at Reedwood Friends Church in Portland.

Tom Rohr died of a heart attack on July 8, 2009. He was born in Detroit and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Tom received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, apprenticed with John Glick at Plum Tree Pottery, and earned an MFA in ceramics from Louisiana State University. After teaching pottery and making pots in Montana, Colombia, Spain, Alaska, Calgary and Winnipeg, he moved to Oregon in 2000 with his wife, Kathryn Finnerty; together, they founded Pleasant Hill Pottery.(Tom’s Web Page)

Gil Harrison passed away in January (2013) due to natural causes at his home, studio and showroom tucked into the woods outside Cottage Grove, Oregon. He originally took classes at the Maude Kern Art Center but considered himself self-taught.

Ray Grimm, 1924-2012: Ray Grimm passed away peacefully on January 22nd surrounded by his large and loving family. He taught ceramics at Portland State University for 35 years, and for many members of OPA, he was their first ceramics teacher. (Ray’s Web Page)

George Harrison Wright: 1917-2012: George Wright passed away peacefully on November 14, 2012 in his home in Manning, Oregon. George will be remembered by the Oregon Clay Community for his innovative kiln designs, his support of Northwest potters, and, of course, for his Hair of the Dog Clay. 

Chris Gum was an OPA member for 23 years. He was on the board of both OPA and Showcase and was often the voice of reason (sometimes to all of our chagrin) amidst chaos. Chris died in his home of unknown natural causes on June 29th. A Memorial Potluck was held at the home of Linda Owen and Craig Martell on July 18th.

Jeanne Charles passed away in May 2009 from complications due to emphysema and lung cancer. Jeanne was an inspired artist and a fine art educator. She served on the OPA Board and Showcase Steering Committee for many years and founded the OPA’s Clay in Education Program. Jeanne’s generostiy and creativity will be remembers by her friends, but her greatest gift was as an educator.