Stewart Luckman | 1938-2020

Contributed photo

Stewart O. Luckman of Edgewood, Washington, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2020, at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Washington, after complications following several surgeries. Stewart was the beloved husband of Marilyn V. Luckman for 60 years and the beloved father of Sean S. Luckman, Bainbridge Island, Washington, and Nils K. Luckman, Edgewood, Washington.

Luckman was born in Fitchburg, Massechusetts, on May 12, 1938, and spent his early years in Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia), where his parents served as missionaries and built the first hospital in East Africa for those afflicted with leprosy. He graduated from Stonybrook Preparatory High School in New York; then attended Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he participated in football, wrestling, and track and field, achieving the title of All American in track, and earned a B.A. degree in political science. He went on to teach high school government and coached football and track at Mt. Si High School in Snoqualmie, Washington, and married Marilyn Swanson in 1962. Later, both returned to Minnesota where he attended Macalester College in St. Paul, and the University of Minnesota, graduating with an MFA in Sculpture, putting him on an entirely new journey and trajectory, with the visual arts becoming the centerpiece of his life. He spent the bulk of his career practicing, creating, and sharing his love of art as Professor of Sculpture and a practicing artist at Bethel University in St. Paul, retiring in 1998.

Over his years at Bethel, Luckman became known as a strong man of faith with a powerful voice, mentoring young artists and sculptors. Like Luckman, many of his students received numerous residencies, awards, and commissions themselves. Their work can also be found in public and private collections across the United States and Europe; and some, notably, became Professors of Art as well. Of special note, Luckman’s public sculpture work can be seen in Finland at the ‘International Plaza;’ New York, at ‘Sculpture Space’; at the University of Minnesota, ‘Rokker V’; at Bethel University in St. Paul; and at university and government building sites, and places of worship in Washington, Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan. After retiring, Luckman moved to San Juan Island in Washington, where he served as the Director of the SJIMA Sculpture Park (San Juan Islands Museum of Art). Stewart also worked with his wife to establish IMA, the Islands Museum of Art on San Juan Island.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn; their children Sean (and Candace) Luckman, and Nils (and Julie) Luckman; their grandchildren Shannon, Ivan, Declan and Seamus Luckman; his sister, Evangeline, and Harold Alexander; his brother, David, and Susan Luckman; and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

A Memorial Celebration of Life will be held, as the Pandemic permits, at Mt. View Lutheran Church in Edgewood, Washington.

Memorials may be made to the Bethel University Art Department.