Potash Hill

In Memoriam

Frank Stout
“He was a true artist of leading talent, whose paintings use sharp satire, humor and intellect,” said Joe Mazur, retired math professor and longtime friend of Frank Stout, who died on April 13 after a long illness. “The two of us could sit quietly and sort of muse over something very trivial with a depth that really uncovered his sense of irony and humor.”

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1926, Frank served in the Navy during World War II and later attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He worked as a draftsman for the architect I.M. Pei in New York from 1951 to 1953, exhibited at the Society of Architects and was awarded a commission from the American Embassy in Lima, where he spent the year 1954. He returned to New York in 1955 to work full time as an artist.

Frank left a growing audience in New York, and critical acclaim, to join the art faculty at Marlboro in the mid-1960s. He accepted an artist-in-residence appointment at the college in 1965, which turned into a professorship until his retirement in 1990. At Marlboro, Frank continued to work with undiminished energy, despite the demands of teaching.

“Frank was a great teacher and taught me much about how to see the world around me,” said Barbara Honthumb ’72. As a teacher, Frank was known as a man of few words, one who let the student take the lead.

“He was a Merlin more than a teacher,” said John Devaney, a well-known artist on Nantucket. “A few muttered words of wisdom, then pouring a wash of color and turpentine across the canvas, pulling out forms, shadows and light in a calligraphic dance. My jaw dropped, I wanted to know more, but Frank was off, skis and easel strapped on, disappearing into the woods to paint snow, and leaving no trace except a glow of possibilities.”

Bruce Balmer ’72 said, “His manner as a teacher was seamless, seemly. The paintings I remember were explosive, even in their pastoral subjects, a contrast to his quietness. He showed me edges.”

“All he wanted to do was paint,” said literature professor Geraldine Pittman Batlle, who called Frank “an imaginative genius.” “He was so sure of what he was doing. There was a sense of fulfillment about him.” She added, “It was wonderful to be around him.”

“Frank was an influential teacher and an outstanding artist whose students and works will keep his reputation alive,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro president.

Frank’s works have been exhibited or featured in permanent public collections across the United States and abroad. His public commissions include a wildlife sculpture installation at the Vermont State House, state portraits and appointments to the Vermont Council on the Arts, Vermont Studio School and New England Foundation for the Arts. A posthumous exhibit of his paintings is being planned in London.

He is best known for his large group portraits called “convention pictures,” as well as for landscapes. Many examples of each were displayed at Drury Gallery, October 2008, in a show titled Retrospective Americana. The paintings spanned much of his career, from a group portrait of the hippie proprietors of Brattleboro businesses in the ’70s to a satirical tableau of President Bush and his cabinet crossing the Tigris River. All of the pieces were a tribute to Frank’s gently comical worldview.

“Frank Stout’s works win you over in two ways,” said Marlboro art professor Tim Segar. “First, by being curious and witty situations and places. Second, by being gorgeous paintings whose marks and surfaces are full of wonderful touches and colors. The real success of them is that neither their subject nor their formal quality overwhelms the other. Both halves work equally to make great painting.”

Frank is survived by his daughter, writer Mira Stout.

Maurice Pechet, former trustee  
Maurice Pechet, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, highly regarded teacher, physician, scientist and longtime trustee of Marlboro College, died on March 5. He was 94 years old. Originally from a trading post in Saskatchewan, Canada, he spent 70 years at Harvard University, earning a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1944 and an M.D. in 1948, and devoting the rest of his career to teaching and science. He served on Marlboro’s board of trustees for 37 years, starting in 1963.

“Maurice was a kind, purposeful guide for a young dean of students at Marlboro College in the 1960s,” said Ted Wendell, trustee and former math professor and dean. “As one of Marlboro’s longest-serving trustees, Maurice took time with members of the college administration and faculty to share the wisdom accumulated over his time as a senior tutor in Lowell House at Harvard.”

Maurice held a number of posts on the faculty at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, and cared for patients at Massachusetts General Hospital for more than half a century. As a scientist, he published over 100 papers and contributed many new synthetic processes.

“Maurice was a physician, a chemist, a noted researcher who was once nominated for the Nobel Prize and a teacher all in one,’’ said Tom Ragle, retired president of Marlboro College. “He understood students better than anyone I ever knew, even while he was engaged in highlevel, esoteric research. He was not simply a teacher, he was an adviser, often for life.’’

An active philanthropist and supporter of the arts, Maurice was also a board member and patron of the Marlboro Music School. He was an advocate of the symbiotic interaction between the two institutions and celebrated the academic integrity of each.

“Maurice was an enduring friend of the college,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro president. “He had a special attachment to our ongoing tradition of hosting a classics fellow from Oxford University to teach Latin and Greek here, and was steadfast in supporting that program.”

“Maurice was always generous to the college, often opening his home for gatherings that introduced the college to potential friends of Marlboro,” said Ted. “But most of all, I remember Maurice’s smile—a smile that lit up his face and warmed the insides of anyone in his presence.”

Maurice is survived by his wife, Kitty, and his sons, Tiron, Taine, Tavan and Tamin.

Thomas Anderson, former dean of students  
On June 1, Tom Anderson died at his home in Petersham, Massachusetts, at the age of 63, from recurrent prostate cancer. A believer in lifelong learning, Tom earned a master’s in religion and society from the Pacific School of Religion and a master’s in social ethics from Boston University. He served as dean of students at Manhattanville College and associate dean of students at Clark University before coming to Marlboro, where he was dean of students from 1989 to 1993 and taught religious studies and social ethics. Diagnosed with cancer in 1992, he made a deliberate change to his life’s work and earned a master’s in library science from Simmons College. For 16 years he was librarian at Oakmont Regional High School in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, nearly until his death. Tom loved nature, literature and music, and was outspoken about environmental causes, social justice and ethical politics.

Tom is survived by his wife, Candace, daughter Emily and son Barrett.