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Richard Navin

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AMAGANSETT, N. Y. -- Professor Richard Joseph Navin, 72, died unexpectedly on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, while on vacation with his three youngest sons in Cancun, Mexico. He was a dedicated professor and was still teaching at Brooklyn College at the time of his death.

Richard, also known as Richie, Proff, Dick and Professor, was born on Aug. 5, 1934, in Chicago. He was the son of Marie Ann (Dietz Larrimer) Navin and Joseph Francis Navin. He attended school in the Des Plaines area of Illinois and received his bachelor of arts and master of fine arts degrees from Notre Dame. He studied art in Vienna after graduating from Notre Dame. Later in life, Richard studied psychotherapy at the C.G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, Switzerland. He also trained for a number of years at the Culinary Institute in New York City.

Richard devoted his entire professional life to teaching. He taught at Pratt Institute, St John’s University and for the past 40 years at Brooklyn College, where he taught in the graduate, undergraduate and special programs. He began teaching sculpture as well as art history and ceramics and later built the digital design area, bringing computers to the art department. At Brooklyn College, Richard played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the use of computers for design, video and animation in industry and academia. He spent a great deal of his life bringing advanced computer software and hardware to underprivileged urban children. Richard participated in many programs such as The Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) to educate underprivileged urban children. His dedicated efforts resulted in placing many students in challenging, well-paying jobs, students who would have otherwise not had such opportunities.

Moreover, his passion for teaching has influenced many of his students so strongly that they too have followed in his path and become teachers. In addition to teaching, he was an active artist/sculptor and exhibited works at the Whitney Biennial and the Guggenheim Museum and numerous galleries. His free time was often committed to sketching and sculpting at his Amagansett beach house in the Hamptons. His monumental sculpture, The Mycenae Circle, occupied the Guggenheim’s rotunda in the spring of 1985. In his early career he handpainted educational film strips and created the album cover art for Todd Rundgren’s “Something Anything?”

While Richard lived most of his adult life in Manhattan, he enjoyed traveling, conferences on media, movies and working with first-generation and immigrant college students. He liked to cook and took pleasure in good food. He was a voracious reader and read the New York Times cover to cover, never missing a day, no matter where he was. During his time in Switzerland Richard was also an active mountaineer who regularly climbed the Appenzeller Mountains as well as other Swiss mountains. He was an expert skier and taught his wife and sons to ski even on the most formidable mountains. He spent a good deal of time in Vermont in his later life with his daughter’s family. Vermont reminded him of Switzerland.

He is survived by five children: daughter Sean-Marie Navin Oller and her husband, Rick Oller, of Bennington; son Joseph Francis Navin II esq. and his wife, Lisa, of Granville, Ohio; son Nicholas Navin of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.; son Christopher Navin of Chicago; and son Richard Navin of Boston. He is also survived by four grandsons: Jackson Oller of Bennington; Joseph, William and Thomas Navin of Granville, Ohio; and one very special granddaughter, Olivia Navin Oller of Bennington, whom he nick-named Double O. Richard was most proud of his children’s and grandchildren’s educational endeavors.

Family, friends and colleagues are invited to a memorial service at the Old First Church on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007, at 1 p.m. in Old Bennington, Vt. A reception will follow at the home of his daughter, Sean-Marie Oller, in Bennington.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to an educational institution such as Quantum Leap or the Tutorial Center in Bennington or to a scholarship fund through Mahar & Son Funeral, 683 Main St, Bennington, VT 05201, 802 442-2516.

Information supplied by funeral home.
Published in Bennington Banner on Jan. 13, 2007
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