Charlotte Nicks DuPen |
Charlotte DuPen was the muse, model and beloved wife of 66 years of the noted sculptor Everett DuPen. She was born to Clarence and Greta Benton Nicks in 1914 in Crosby, Texas and died at 97 of old age in Bellevue, Washington on August 17.
Her mother wanted her to like her name so Charlotte named herself at the age of six having been called "Snookie" until then. Having excelled as an exhibition diver in Texas, Charlotte attended the University of Missouri, was a dancer in the circus in Chicago, studied ballet and went on to dance with the Corps de Ballet in the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
It was there that she met Sculptor Everett DuPen while posing for his life class at Yale University School of Fine Arts. They were married in New York City in 1939. Charlotte was an true "originale": she wore a very bright colored dress for her wedding which was very unusual in the 1930's and loved to shock people by wearing a live 12 foot King Snake around her neck in the NY subways. This ensured her the seat of her choice when stunned riders scattered. After spending time in St. Louis and San Francisco, the couple moved to Seattle in 1946 where Everett was hired as a Professor of Art at the University of Washington. With their four small children they made their home on Capitol Hill (20th East) where they lived for 53 years and added two more daughters to the family. Charlotte was an expert seamstress (even making Everett a dress suit), a scout leader and, after hours, a sculpture model for her husband. She was also a very active member of the Seattle Opera Guild and organized study groups in her home using her old stereo. When the new opera house was built, Charlotte was one of the first to get season tickets that she kept for 38 years. An active stock investor Charlotte set up and advised several investment clubs in the Seattle area.
Her children fondly remember their mother giving the best birthday parties on the block, shopping with her at the Pike Place Market every Saturday and loving the summer trips to the family cabin on Vashon Island. They also remember the gourmet lunches she served when they would have preferred peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Charlotte went through many phases and enthusiasms, including photography. In the 1950's she became an avid adherent of Adele Davis School of healthy foods serving her leery kids wheat germ, brewers yeast and raw eggs whenever she could sneak them in. Charlotte's creative cocktail parties given in the 1950's were amazing: she served homemade peach, blackberry and plum brandies and cordials, octopus hors d'oeuvres and Indian and Korean delicacies. Travels with Everett included a sabbatical year in Florence, Italy and a memorable trip to India and Egypt.
In 1999 Everett and Charlotte moved to the University House in Wallingford and in 2003 to Ivanhoe Senior Care in Bellevue where they were cared for lovingly.
Charlotte was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband Everett in 2005, brothers: John, Paul and sister Rosemary.
She is survived by her children: Dr. Stuart Du Pen (Anna) of Bainbridge Island, Destia DuPen Hermes (Rodney) of Redmond, Novelle DuPen-Meyerhoff (Robert) of Chestnut Hill, MA, William DuPen (Pat) of Vancouver, WA, Ninia DuPen of Seattle and Marguerite Day of Vail, CO. Grandchildren: Stefan Boone, Seiri DuPen, Jason Burby (Dmitria), Aaron Burby, Jenifer Lee (Shawn), Julie Buss (Tom), Jonathan DuPen (Melissa), Teodoro Meyerhoff, Isadora Meyerhoff, Logan Day and Destia Day. Great-Grandchildren: Cade Burby, Blake Burby, Avangeline Burby, Amelia Wirth, Faye Wirth, Alice DuPen, Cheyenne Lee, Dakota Lee, Cameron DuPen and soon baby boy Buss. Brother: Jerry Nicks (Barbara) of San Antonio, Texas, cousin Patricia Benton Bowker; also in-laws Dorothy Cutler, Jeanette Nicks, Kenneth McDowell, William H. Turnquist (Betty), Samuel Freeman (Javiera) and many nieces and nephews.
A private service will be held at Lakeview Cemetery on Capitol Hill where her ashes will be interred with those of her husband.
Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 9, 2012