Published in the Ellensburg Daily Record, 12/01/08
Richard C Elliott, 63, innovative artist, devoted husband, and ardent community member, died at home November 19th 2008. He lived with pancreatic cancer for fourteen months, all the while making art and encouraging other artists. He often spoke of writing a letter to the editor to say goodbye to the community he loved.
He came to Central Washington State College in 1963. He took time off to work and to join VISTA, living a year with the Eskimos in Alaska and a year with the Makah tribe in Neah Bay. He received a BA in art in 1971, married Jane Orleman, and moved back to Portland to join his father and uncle in the family business. Realizing that Ellensburg was the home of his heart, he returned a year later to begin his life as an artist. Dick and Jane created Spot Janitorial to support their dreams. He found fulfillment here. Being involved with the University, Gallery One, the Clymer Museum, and various city boards and commissions all added to his life and understanding of people and the world. He served many years as chairman of the downtown task force, finding great pleasure in working with others to enhance the beauty of Ellensburg.
In the 80s, he developed reflectors as a painting medium, which led to more than twenty large-scale public artworks across the country. He had the pleasure of being recognized for his art. In 2000 CWU honored him as Distinguished Alumni in the School of Arts and Humanities. In 2008 he received both the Governor’s Award in the Arts, in Olympia WA and the Americans for the Arts Recognition for Innovation in Public Art, in Philadelphia PA. He was also incredibly prolific in his studio work. The Washington State Art Commission purchased over 30 reflective paintings for public schools throughout the state. The nationally known art site, Dick and Jane’s Spot, was a labor of love created with his wife simply for the fun of it.
Dick died following a pleasant day of receiving phone calls and emails from friends and family and reminiscing with his wife of 38 years. His courage and good humor enriched the lives of all who shared time with him.
His mother Marian Hodges (John) encouraged all of her children to be their best selves and filled them with love and sunshine. His brothers, Jim Elliott (Betsy), Hari Nam Singh Elliott, (Hari Nam Kaur), sister, Gina Biondi (John), many nieces, nephews and dear friends rallied to support Dick and Jane during his final year. They all hold him in their hearts. His father, Jenkin A Elliott, preceded him from this world.
Dick didn’t get to write that letter to the editor but he wanted you to know that when he walked down the street he felt surrounded by family. Dick loved living in this openhearted community and he wished you all a fond farewell.
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