It is with great sadness that the Frye Art Museum
announces the passing of Ida Kay Greathouse, Director Emerita of the Museum, on Thursday, January 6, 2011.
Mrs. Greathouse and her husband, Walser, were friends of Charles and Emma Frye, the founders of the Frye Art Museum. Mr. Greathouse, a Rhodes scholar and graduate of Oxford, served as the Fryes’ attorney, executor of the Frye estate, and first director (1952–1966) of the Charles and Emma Frye Free Public Art Museum, as it was then called.
Following Walser Greathouse’s death, Mrs. Greathouse took the helm as Director of the Frye. Throughout her nearly thirty year career, she was committed to protecting the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye.
Kay Greathouse continued her husband’s focus on American art, enhanced the Frye Founding Collection’s holdings of French paintings, and moved into new collecting directions by acquiring significant paintings by early-twentieth-century Russian-trained émigrés and twentieth-century Alaskan landscapes.
The Frye Art Museum honored Mrs. Greathouse’s role in the history of the museum this past summer with Ida Kay Greathouse: A Tribute, an exhibition which featured paintings collected during her tenure, from 1966 until her retirement in 1993. The exhibition demonstrated the key role played by Mrs. Greathouse in moving the Museum to showcase not only European art but also 20th century American art.
A lover of music, dance, and travel, especially to New York City and Hong Kong, Mrs Greathouse most recently made her home at Horizon House, located in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle--just blocks from her beloved Frye.
Mrs. Greathouse is survived by members of her family, including her nephew, Henry Hawkins, Jr., of Bellingham, WA and many, many friends from far and wide.
A public memorial will be held at the Frye Art Museum on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, the 59th anniversary of the founding of the of the Frye, at 11:30 am. All are invited to attend.