Thursday, April 3, 2008

Gladys Lynda Dubov



As we prepare to honor Lynda with a memorial this May, I have gotten in touch with members of the artistic community of which she was such an active member for the past twenty years. Many of them have not yet heard of her death. Unless one reads the Statesman (we don't) it would have been easy to miss the notice. Of course, Pierre's death threw a wrench into the planning process so I never properly informed that most important group, alas.

Well, the time has come to correct that oversight, so as part of my renewed effort to plan this memorial, I've emailed the Austin Visual Arts Association (AVAA), to which Lynda belonged--off and on-- for as long as she lived in Austin. Many people knew her in only this context, so it seems fitting that we honor her in a setting that as closely resembles an art exhibit as possible, and I've asked Kelli at the AVAA if they or anyone they know has a suitable space. I envision putting up two or three of her paintings and bringing out books of her drawings and even her plays for us to recall what a wonderfully diverse intellect and artistic temperament she possessed.

My initial exchange with Kelli made me realize that I haven't posted the Lynda's obituary here in this journal yet, and, though it seems out of place in the natural order of things, not much has seemed in sync, if you will, for the past several months anyway. What follows is a copy of what was published in the Austin American-Statesman on 11/29/2007.

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Gladys Lynda Dubov passed away quietly on Thursday at the age of 90 in peace and comfort. The eldest daughter of Oglesby K. Allen, Jr. and Rosalyn Allen, Lynda was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 1, 1917.

At an early age the family moved to Biloxi, Mississippi to take over the family store. Lynda graduated high school and went almost immediately to work, first in Wheatland, Wyoming and then in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1941 she married Jack H.L. Smith of Shreveport. Their first child, Stephen, was born in 1944. Tragically, Lt. Smith died in a Jeep accident in 1945, shortly before the birth of Lynda's second child, Anne. Though grief stricken, Lynda's resolve to make a better life spurred her to take herself, her infant children and her mother to New York City where she worked hard to support them and take advantage of all the city had to offer.

In 1954 she met Wilbur Earl ("Bill") Dubov and they were married the next year on Thanksgiving Day. A short stint in Utica, New York followed where Lynda and Bill's first child, Phillip was born. In 1955 they purchased a bookstore in Abilene, Texas and through hard work turned it into an intellectual pillar of the community. Their second child, David, was born in 1961.

Another opportunity in 1967 took them to San Antonio, Texas and then to Austin a short time later. Lynda began to pursue a long career in the insurance business as one of the first woman agents in the Southwest and gradually became very successful.

That success enabled Lynda to fulfill a lifelong dream and move her family to England where she worked to build a thriving insurance practice selling to American troops. In every spare moment she and Bill traveled extensively, visiting virtually every country in Europe as well as Egypt, Russia and China. After Bill's death in 1981, Lynda moved back to suburban New York to be near Anne, her husband Eric Shapiro, and their two children, Jennifer and Daniel.

In 1985 she packed up once again and came back to Austin where she celebrated the marriage of Phillip to Valery Caselli and witnessed the births of her grandchildren Pierre and Madeleine.

The freedom of retirement allowed Lynda to continue the great passion of her life - art. Though she had always painted and drawn, she now was able to have a studio outside her home where she could create without constraint. The studio was the source of her life energy here in Austin for more than twenty-five years. She was a member of the Art-Plex community until a fire forced her to close her studio in 2006. She was the creator of many works on canvas and paper, including the well-traveled series of pen-and-ink drawings about European Jews before the War entitled "Voices of the Ghetto". She enjoyed numerous showings of her work in New York, San Francisco, London, Dallas, Houston as well as Austin, culminating in a well-attended retrospective of twenty-five years of her work in 2005.

Lynda is survived by her children, grandchildren, her sister Anita Alden of St. Louis, Missouri and a cousin, Bernice Heller, of New York City.

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