Ed Dron, age 77, of Port Townsend, WA, died at his home on March 23rd.
Ed’s career was in art. While pursuing his M.F.A. at Claremont College, he taught art in local high schools and community colleges. His explorations of bronze foundry techniques led him to operate his own bronze foundry for sculpture in Ontario, CA and teach foundry techniques to others.
In 1965, he was awarded the Prix de Rome in Sculpture. For the next three years, he lived and worked at the American Academy of Rome and traveled, often with poet friend June Jordan, in Europe and Russia. He spent the next 22 years making sculpture and teaching fine arts at the University of California at Santa Barbara and, later, at other institutions. Some of Ed’s works are in the collections of the Smithsonian, U.C. Santa Barbara Museum, and Pomona College Museum.
He had his reversals. Looking at extensive albums of Ed’s works, a friend pointed to some and asked, “Where are these now?” Ed shrugged. “They’re gone.. There were no buyers. I melted them down and kept going.”
Ed retired to Port Townsend in the 1990s. At first, he bought land in Chimacum with old friends Tom Jay, Marsha Hollingsworth, Larry Scoville, Pam Geyer, and Michael and Candy Gohn. Later, he swapped it out for property overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca, where he singlehandedly built his dream house/studio, even raising the staircase alone. Until a stroke in late 2007 disabled him, he was an active member and sometimes informal teacher in the community of artists at Quimper Arts. “Ed was highly skilled at figure drawing. He was an inspiration and a mentor to me and other members,” said Rita Kepner.
The son of Parisian parents, Ed started life in New York City in 1936. His father Roger was an engineer in a chocolate factory. Ed’s family moved to Long Beach, California, in 1946. The ocean drew him. Ed became a lifeguard, a surfer (he was featured in Bruce Brown’s 1958 surfing movie, “Slippery When Wet”), and a harpoonist on a swordfish boat (he was fired for sometimes finding a fish so beautiful he couldn’t “stick it”).
Besides his Chimacum friends, Ed is survived by friends Pat Copeland and Sarah Mall Johanni; Carol Gallup, who handled his affairs; and caregivers who became the family that helped him complete himself: Kathy Arthur, Jennifer Slater, Camille Hildebrandt, Nancy Papasodora, and Salena Prose (and Salena’s dog Babe, also much loved by Ed).
Memorial services will be held at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, April 30, at the Quimper Arts building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.