Elizabeth 'Beth' J. Cassidy


Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2004

Former Kenai Peninsula resident Beth Cassidy died Wednesday, July 14, 2004, at her home in the company of family. She was 47.

Her husband, Jeff, and son, Caz, will host a celebration of her life at their home Saturday, July 31.

Mrs. Cassidy was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and raised in Hudson, Ohio. She came to Alaska in 1978, living in Clam Gulch, then Kasilof for 12 years, and then in Homer from 1990 to 1993.

She broke gender barriers in the seafood processing industry, becoming one of the state's first female harbor masters.

Her son, Dyer Cassidy "Caz" VanDevere, was born in 1987, and the family moved to the Seattle area in 1993 to pursue Mrs. Cassidy's career in art.

Mrs. Cassidy began her dedication to art at the age of 8. Her work self-taught evolved through a broad range of media, culminating in functional and decorative fiber work and mixed media sculpture. She became a nationally acclaimed fiber artist, winning awards since 1988. Recent honors included the Excellence in Textiles Award at the Philadelphia Furniture and Furnishings Show and the Award of Excellence at the Bellevue (Wash.) Art Museum Fair. Her work has been exhibited at venues, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of American Craft in New York, and the Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Exposition (SOFA) in Chicago. She and her husband, Jeff Brice, were featured in Surface Design Magazine, Winter 2002, for their collaborative design work.

"Throughout her life, she has been held in high esteem by her fellow artists for her tremendous support, inspiration and generous spirit. Beth's creativity and energy had no bounds. Her every action generated beauty, from her art to her business, her home, her gardens and her relationships with family and friends," her family said.

"She is remembered by friends as an awesome powerhouse of productivity in art and daily living. But her intensive work ethic never overcame her penchant for generosity. Time for family, friends and community service was always her priority. Making and giving gifts was one of her greatest pleasures. In her extended family, Beth was the one to seek out distant relations and maintain family archives.

"Her strong will, determination and constant effort took her far in her short life. She achieved success in her career and great happiness in her family but even her extraordinary positive energy was not enough to overcome an aggressive cancer. The depth and breadth of her impact on the world is reflected in the enormous void left by her passing."

An education fund or artist grant foundation may be arranged for memorial donations. For more information, visit bethcassidy.com on the Internet.

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