Bernard (Barney) Alec Ebsworth of Hunts Point, Washington passed away on April 9, 2018 with his wife Rebecca and daughter Christiane by his side. As a pioneering travel entrepreneur and renowned American art collector, Barney traveled the world living life to the fullest. Barney was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 14, 1934 alongside his twin sister, the late Muriel Louise Mueller, to Alec and Bernice Ebsworth. In his youth, Barney achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, at the same time as his father, and became an avid track runner for Cleveland High School and earned an academic, athletic, and needs based scholarship to University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis. Barney served in the Army and was stationed in France at which time his love of art was fostered by his many trips to the Louvre Museum in Paris. It was in Paris that he met and married his wife Martine Ebsworth (nee de Visme) with whom he had his only child Christiane. Barney returned to St. Louis where he purchased a small travel company in 1959, which he would ultimately grow into INTRAV, an international travel company providing luxury group travel around the globe which included the first back to back charter air tours to the Orient, South America, North and East Africa, South Pacific, Scandinavia, South Africa, and Central America, including 29 around the world trips on Air France and British Airways Concorde planes. As an early pioneer in the cruise industry, he founded and was Chairman for both Royal Cruise Line in 1972 and Clipper Cruise Line in 1981. Royal Cruise Line built and operated the deluxe ocean- going cruise liners M/S Golden Odyssey, M/S Crown Odyssey, and M/S Royal Odyssey. The company was sold and combined with Norwegian Cruise Line in 1986. Clipper Cruise Line owned and operated deluxe small cruise ships of 100 - 140 passenger capacity that included the M/V Newport Clipper, the M/V Nantucket Clipper and M/V Yorktown Clipper. The company was merged with INTRAV in December 1996. Barney sold his company to Kuoni Reisen Holding AG in September 1999 when he retired from his professional life. As his career progressed, so too did his love of art, acquiring seminal works that would become the cornerstones of his collection. He was married to his second wife, the late Patricia Ebsworth (nee Kloepfer) with Georgia O'Keefe as their witness at her Abiquiu home in New Mexico. It was during this time that he was awarded the Sovereign Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta) in 1974. Barney founded the investment firm of Windsor, Inc. in 1979 that provided financing for venture capital and real estate investments, including the initial and subsequent rounds of funding for Build a Bear Workshop (BBW), which would go on to become publicly listed. With his highly-developed sense of humor, Barney gave himself the executive title of 'Bearly There' as a Director of BBW. After retiring from his career in the travel business, Barney moved with his wife Pamela Ebsworth (nee Larimer) to Seattle, Washington and expanded his already renowned collection of twentieth century American Modernism, American Contemporary, and Old Masters. The Ebsworth Collection toured in 1987-1988 to The St. Louis Art Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as a second tour in 2000 where the collection was shown at the National Gallery of Art and the Seattle Art Museum. As a prolific art collector, Barney was named as one of the World's 200 Greatest Collectors by Art News magazine, and America's Top 100 Collectors by Art & Antiques magazine. In 2002, Barney was awarded the Skowhegan-Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney award for Outstanding Patronage to the Arts. His tireless service to the art world was extensive as evidenced by his roles on numerous Boards including: Vice-President of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Trustee of the Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI; International Council Member, MoMA, New York; former Trustee and Chairman of the Acquisition Committee of the St. Louis Art Museum; Trustee Council and former Co-Chairman of Collectors' Committee, National Gallery of Art, Washington; former Commissioner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, St. Louis, MO, Founding Trustee and Member of the Collection Committee at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Barney is survived by his wife Rebecca Ebsworth (nee Layman), his daughter Christiane and son-in-law, Mark Ladd, of Chicago, his grandchildren, Alexandra and Maximilian, as well as his numerous nieces and nephews. Barney will be remembered for his sense of humor, devotion to his family and friends as well as his financial generosity, time and spirit in all his endeavors. A funeral service was held on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 2:00pm at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina, WA.
Published in New York Times on Apr. 22, 2018.