JOHN ROBERT VINCENT

Obituary
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JOHN ROBERT VINCENT John Robert Vincent, resident of Rio Arriba County, died on September third after a long struggle with lung cancer. He was 78. John was the son of Melvin Vincent and Lucile Shawver Vincent of West Branch, Iowa. Growing up he spent a great deal of time in lumber camps operated by his grandfather Abe Shawver. Memories of this experience stayed with him all of his life, and left him with a deep appreciation of the self-reliance and ingenuity of lumbermen, and a fine understanding of wood and its properties. After high school he served in the U. S. Army, and then obtained a bachelors degree from the University of Iowa. He subsequently attended graduate school at the University of Missouri where he worked as a Graduate Assistant doing contract archaeology. In 1962 he wrote a Masters Thesis titled "A Study of Two Ozark Woodworking Industries". His career was more in the world of arts and crafts than in archaeology. He became a museum director, first at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa, and then the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas. In the late 1960s he moved to New Mexico, where he first worked in the San Juan Mercantile as a silversmith and a buyer of Navajo rugs. After the Mercantile burned, he worked for the then New Mexico Arts Commission, subsequently absorbed into the Department of Cultural Affairs. There he traveled the state, meeting many of New Mexico's artists and craftsmen. After his retirement he began a career as a designer, builder, and restorer of furniture, and as a consultant on adobe construction. John was a master craftsman with expertise in woodworking, adobe construction, silversmithing and blacksmithing. He could construct a floor of adobe, build a fireplace that works, and maintain a mud-plastered house. His home was a beautifully restored adobe dating from the 1700s. He was a great story teller and an expert gardener. He traveled extensively in Mexico, collecting furniture and antiquities. John was a remarkable man, who had a full and productive life. He was preceeded in death by his parents and his two brothers, Donald and Richard. He is survived by his partner of many years, Maria Garcia of Lyden, his sister Susan Wolfer of New York, two nieces and four nephews, and his many friends.
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Jan. 1, 1900
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