Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Remembering A Friend - Dee Stark

One of Crazy quilting's more interesting characters is gone: Dee Stark died suddenly Feb. 18. She was only 43.

I first met Dee while teaching at Nancy Kirk's CRAZY QUILT SOCIETY conference: . She was flamboyant and colorful, full of opinions -- and the first and only person to speak up and lecture ME...while I was lecturing!

Dee's research skills were amazing, and she was always willing to share. She was the first one to find strong evidence of the Japanese presence in Crazy quilting centuries before the Centennial Exhibition ever happened. And she found Russian ties, too... my CRAZY QUILTS book benefitted from her comments and insights.

She was bossy. And thoughtful. Generous. Silly. Warm. Excellent Taste. Beautifully dressed. Outstanding techniques in embellishments and quiltmaking.

She kept me thinking, and I will always remember our long talks in her hotel room while practically everyone else in the place was sleeping. Her book on symbolism in Crazies sits on my bookshelf, and the package of King George souvenir buttons I bought from her is in my workbox. Dee loved buttons --in fact, she collected anything unusual, especially if it was connected with the Victorian age.

In short, she was one of those intelligent, exciting people you rarely come across in life. A fine Crazy quilter, she taught all over the country, as well as in England and France.

She had moved out of a bad marriage in recent months, and was living in a small apartment in New York, closer to her parents. She was gradually cutting her possessions down to the essentials, while continuing to write and teach. (You may recognize her from her company, Victorian Handicrafts.) Her health had not been good for years, and she recently lost a beloved pet.

She loved her privacy, and would disappear a month or two off the radar while working on something. I'd last spoken to her around Christmas, and was planning to be back in touch "when I caught up with paperwork." And now she's gone. A good reminder to me about what was really important -- I would have given up hours of paperwork to be able to e-mail Dee one last time.

I will miss her dearly.


February 25, 2008

Stark, Dee - Delia Elaine 'Dee' Stark, 43, of Clifton Springs died unexpectedly on February 18, 2008. A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday (March 9) at Woodlane Community Church in Newark. Delia was an accomplished pianist and had played at several area churches. She was a member of Finger Lakes chorale. Delia was a self-taught seamstress and taught quilting in Rochester, Nebraska, California, England, and France. Her specialty was 'crazy quilting.' She is survived by her mother and stepfather, Janet and Dick Norsen of Newark; her father, Richard VanHousen of Clifton Springs Nursing Home; stepmother, Gladys VanHousen of Phelps; brother Daniel (Donna) VanHousen of Webster; nephew and niece, David and Deena VanHousen; husband, David Stark of Albany; stepdaughter, Kristen (Scott) Bater of Holley; aunts, uncles, cousins, and co-workers at Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. Memorials in Delia's name many be sent to the Humane Society.



ghostwolfd said...

Thank you for posting this... a friend pointed me here -

I'd wondered why she had not answered emails for a while, then why her emails bounced -

Figured she'd hit a rough spot and would pop back up as she'd done before.

I wish I'd been right.

Lord, how I wish I'd been right.

Dee exchanged emails a lot with me, with my wife Martha about fun stuff, travels, hobbies - and about poignant things, hard things too - Martha and I missed getting to meet her on each of her trips to the left coast, but we all tried.

Rest well, Dee - you are missed deeply - and say hi to Martha for me, OK?


HRCHCCS said...

Cindy - may I have your permission to post your remembrance of Dee on my family tree on Dee, we called her Delia growing up, was my first cousin. Her mother and my father are siblings and today is her mother's memorial service. Her mom passed away a few weeks ago, she never got over Delia's unexpected death, but she herself died peacefully in her sleep, just like our grandmother, so that was a blesisng.
Thanks for considering.
Kathy Fauls Uber
Chapel Hill NC

Cindy Brick said...

YES, Kathy -- absolutely!!!

Dee was my friend. I STILL miss her.

Please give my best wishes to the family on her mom's passing.

and thank you for asking.

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