Beverly James
1938 - 2015
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Bevery Alma Burch James

Beverly James was a graphic designer who dedicated her life to art and artists. She served as Trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for nearly twenty years, and as Trustee of the San Francisco Art Institute, serving a term as Chairman of the Board. She earned an AB in Fine Arts at San Francisco State University in 1961.

Beverly was born in San Francisco in 1938, and grew up in Redwood City, where she went to Sequoia High School. She was the fifth generation of a Peninsula family which settled in California in the 1850's. Beverly was a long time resident of both Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For most of her adult life, Beverly remained active in the arts as a freelance professional. After college, she trained as a graphic designer at the Museum School of the Fine Arts Museum of Boston, and at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. She produced designs for family, friends, clubs, schools, and local organizations. She was never happier than when working in the art studio at her house in Palo Alto. She decorated her home with her own paintings and those of the West Coast figurative school, whom she greatly admired.

In person, Beverly always seemed to understand the reasons why the world is ordered as it is, and what could be done to make it more beautiful.

After her children had left for college in the 1980s, Beverly increased her personal involvement in supporting other artists and art institutions. She was elected to the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Art Institute in 1985. Over many years there, she served as Board Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chairman of the Board. She was also Chair of both the Development Committee and the Committee on Trustees, and became a Trustee Emerita in 2010. In 2012, the Art Institute recognized Beverly with a Special Award for her extraordinary service to the institution.

In addition, since 1996 Beverly served as a Trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She was Commissioner of the San Francisco Film and Video Arts Commission in 1995 and 1996, and Board Member of ArtTable from 1998 to 2000.

Beverly was known for her strong personality. She continued to surprise those around her with savvy comments right up until the stroke that left her virtually unable to speak two weeks before her passing.

She died at her home in Palo Alto on April 28. Beverly is survived by her husband of 52 years, George James, three brothers, four sons, and ten grandchildren.


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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from May 13 to May 17, 2015.
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2 entries
June 23, 2015
We remember Beverly fondly from our years of association in the arts, especially the San Francisco Ballet.What an extraordinary woman.
Our deepest sympathies to George and her entire family.
Nancy and Larry Mohr
May 16, 2015
Beverly was a good friend. She got me involved with the Miramonte Mental Health organization where she was a board member. A most talented person, she will be remembered by all of us that were fortunate to be part of her life as friends. RIP dear Beverly.
Duane Wadsworth
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