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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Roy Slade

Roy Slade, of Clearwater, Fla. and Shelter Island passed away peacefully in his sleep on Aug. 6, 2022.

Born on July 14, 1933 in Wales, Roy gained his degrees in painting and art education from Cardiff College of Art and the University of Wales.

He taught in the U.K., and was at Leeds College of Art, before coming to the U.S. in 1967 as visiting professor in painting at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington D.C. Roy was appointed dean in 1970 and director of the gallery in 1972.

Five years later, he became president of Cranbrook Academy of Art and director of the Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., retiring in 1994 and becoming director emeritus. Roy remained a practicing artist and outspoken advocate of the arts throughout his career.

In 1975, he became an American citizen. His lectures were presented in the U.K., U.S., Europe, South America and Japan. Based on over 40 years experience as a painter, arts administrator and educator, his lectures and writings dealt with contemporary art and art museums.

He acted as curator or juror for over 100 exhibitions, including the work of major artists from Ansel Adams to Louise Nevelson. His many catalogs include “The Corcoran & Washington Art,” “Yoko Ono: The Bronze Age,” “Modern Argentine Drawings” and  “Niels Diffrient: Knoll Seating.”

His own paintings have been exhibited in one-man and group shows at art galleries and museums. His work is included in many private and public collections in the U.K. and U.S.  His professional activities and appointments were numerous and involved the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Council of Arts Administrators (NCAA), National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). 

Among his awards were Knight First Class, Order of the White Rose in Finland; The Royal Order of the Polar Star in Sweden; Honorary Doctorate of Arts, Art Institute of Southern California; Founders Medal, Cranbrook Foundation; and Honorary Member AAMD.

On retirement in 1994, he and his wife Agnes drove across the country on three occasions. Then, for over six years, from the Great Lakes to the intercoastal to the Bahamas, they cruised on their 40-foot power boat, “Lady Blue,” eventually dropping anchor in Clearwater, Fla.

Summers were spent on Shelter Island where the family gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July and his birthday on July 14. Roy and Agnes lived in the so-called “Krazy Hut” on Manhanset Road, lovingly named by his grandchildren for constant laughter and joy emanating from its walls. He painted from his Shelter Island barn studio.

Agnes predeceased him in 2020. He will be sorely missed by children Charles and John Fleckenstein and Anne Benge, and his beloved grandchildren, Olivia, Catherine, Charles, Clara and Julian. Roy’s family will hold a private celebration of his life on Shelter Island this September.