Marvin P. Garner

May 15, 2017
Marvin Garner

Lincolnville — Marvin P. “Red” Garner, a long-time resident, passed away May 9, 2017, at Quarry Hill in Camden at the age of 101. He was born in Casey County, Ky., the youngest child of George P. and Myrtle (Hatter) Garner. He attended Transylvania University, in Lexington, Ky., where he majored in history, graduating in 1936.

Having met his future wife, Margaret “Peggy” Toliver, in college, he eventually followed her to New York City. There he worked in the accounting department of the Atlantic Commission Co., while she worked at the New York Public Library. One Sunday afternoon he accompanied her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the works of Cezanne and others ignited his lifelong passion for art, ultimately inspiring a new career.

They married in 1941, but were soon separated by war; his service in the Army’s Sixth Air Force included two years in Panama. Returning to New York following the war, he obtained a master’s degree and later a doctorate from Columbia University. In 1947 he accepted a teaching position in the art department of the college now known as the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Initially concentrating on painting, he subsequently turned to pottery, studying with Toshiko Takaezu at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He served for more than 20 years as head of the department, while maintaining a pottery studio in his home. In 1957 he and his wife, together with two friends (the late Clela Reeves and the late Ruth Warfel), bought property in Lincolnville, where for many years they ran a seasonal shop selling not only his pottery, but also books and other crafts.

The Garners moved permanently to Lincolnville in 1972, and continued to operate the shop for a number of years in the building now occupied by the Whale’s Tooth Pub. He was also active in the Maine arts community, serving on a number of arts-related boards and committees, including the former Maine Coast Artists organization, now the Center for Maine Contemporary Art; the Maine Arts Commission, and Bay Chamber Concerts.

In 1987 he returned to painting, creating luminous abstract works rooted in the Maine landscape he loved. His work in both pottery and painting was the subject of a 2002 exhibit at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Garner continued painting into his 90s, until his wife’s last illness and death in 2012.

Survivors include his daughter, Sallee Garner, and her husband, Keith Searls; a niece, Jane Brock Woodall (Roy); great-nephews and their families; and numerous dear friends, including his beloved caregiver, Ann Marriner.

In accordance with his wishes, there will be no funeral. If desired, memorial donations may be made to the following organizations: Camden Area District Nursing Association, P.O. Box 547, 30 Community Drive, Camden, ME 04843; Center for Maine Contemporary Art, P.O. Box 1767, Rockland, ME 04841.

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