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Richard Charles Gilkey
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Birth: Dec. 20, 1925
Bellingham
Whatcom County
Washington, USA
Death: Oct. 3, 1997
Jackson
Teton County
Wyoming, USA

The painter Richard Gilkey grew up in the Skagit Valley, attended Ballard High School, and served in World War II as a marine. He returned to civilian life traumatized, becoming a brawler and rabble rouser. Exposure to the mystical and anti-war paintings of Guy Anderson, Morris Graves, and Mark Tobey turned him to serious painting. At first he executed heroic landscapes, often using a palette knife to apply thick paint to huge canvases. A serious automobile accident in 1984 interrupted his work for three years. When he was able to paint again, his work became more interior, a record of human consciousness. Recognition was immediate, both in the Pacific Northwest and internationally. This biography of Richard Gilkey is reprinted from Deloris Tarzan Ament's Iridescent Light: The Emergence of Northwest Art (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002).
Gilkey killed himself in Hemingwayesque style. On Monday, September 29, 1997, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was already on medication for heart trouble. The Mount Vernon physician who gave him the diagnosis admitted being very negative in his prognosis.
Gilkey climbed into his 1992 Dodge Ram and began driving. He packed no clothes, and left his heart medicine behind. He took only one thing: a small revolver he'd had for years.
He drove as far as Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Some time before noon on Friday, October 3, 1997, he parked on the side of a dirt road near the summit of 9,600-foot Togwatee Pass. There, surrounded by the Grand Tetons, in a lush green meadow near a brook, he put the gun to his head. He was 72 years old.
His body was found later that day by a forest ranger.
He left behind a note from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: "This is the chief thing: Be not perturbed, for all things are according to the nature of the Universal, and in a little time you will be no one and nowhere."

He was the son of Charles Gilkey (1886-1970)
and Freda Layton (1897-1983)
Looking for their gravesites.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Charles Gilkey (1886 - 1970)
  Freda O Layton Gilkey (1897 - 1983)
 
Burial:
Unknown
 
Maintained by: JD Gilkey
Originally Created by: Darla Mays (Rodeogirl73)
Record added: Aug 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40871710
Richard Charles Gilkey
Added by: JD Gilkey
 
Richard Charles Gilkey
Added by: Darla Mays (Rodeogirl73)
 
 
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Click on image for full size.

To one of our family's greatest members and a great artist.
- JD Gilkey
 Added: Sep. 14, 2010
 
 
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