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The Blue & Gray Press | August 23, 2019

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UMW community mourns loss of Art professor JeanAnn Dabb

UMW community mourns loss of Art professor JeanAnn Dabb


After almost a decade of battling cancer, Art History Professor JeanAnne Dabb passed away Tuesday morning, leaving behind a swarm of dear friends, family, colleagues, and students.Dabb was welcomed into UMW’s Art and Art History department in 1992, after she graduated from the University of Michigan with a Ph.D. in Art History.

Professor of Art, Joseph Dibella, was on the committee that chose to hire Dabb, and says, “Giving her the news of her selection over twenty years ago was one of my most memorable and important acts as chair of my department.”

From that point on, Dabb proved herself to be not only an enthusiastic educator but also a very skilled one. She won the Mary W. Pinschmidit award in 2009, honoring her for her outstanding teaching skills and her collaborations with many students and colleagues. Dabb was much admired during her many terms served as chair of the Art and Art History departments during her time at UMW.

Colleagues and students alike describe her not only as a dependable and enthusiastic educator, but also a supportive and encouraging friend.

Art and Art History department chair, Professor Carole Garmon calls Dabb, “An award winning teacher, a respected art historian, an accomplished mosaicist, an avid collector of all that is Alfred Hitchcock, and a lover of Robie (her cat)…she epitomizes the importance of being curious, of embracing life and all it brings.”

Noting her resilience was Dibella, who said “She did not buckle under the pressure of adversity despite the nearly ten years of failing health that she experienced.” While Dabb dealt with her own health issues, she was also able to provide support for her friends going through problems of their own.

“Even when I was struggling at the same time with my own health issues, JeanAnn made it a point to listen to me, be supportive and offer encouragement,” Dibella said. “She was a dear friend and colleague and I will miss her presence.”

Dabb’s students have also experienced deep sorrow at hearing of her passing. Junior Art History major, Emily Warren was first introduced to the world of Art History by Dabb.

“She impacted my life immensely, and I am so grateful to have met her,” Warren said, “She will be greatly missed.”

Several current and former students are sharing their sorrow over her loss on social media, such as alum Bridget Sullivan, who used Facebook to say a final goodbye to the beloved professor.

“Professor, your wisdom, passion, and gentility are remembered, though you are no longer with us on this Earth. Say hello to Alfred for me,” Sullivan said on Facebook.

The members of the UMW community that met Dabb during her time hear will forever remember her. “She will be missed by her entire UMW family,” Garmon said. Though Dabb has left this Earth, she will remain forever in the hearts and minds of all who met her.

There will soon be a tribute to Dabb in the University Galleries, according to Richard Finkelstein, and a funeral for Dabb will be held at 11 a.m. on Oct 24, 2015 at North Ogden LDS 16th Ward, 205 E. Elberta Drive.

The viewing will be that Friday from 6 p.m. to 8p.m. and Saturday before the service from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.


  1. Dear UMW,

    First off, thank you, Ms. Grammer, for the lovely tribute to JeanAnn Dabb. I have shared it with followers of Mosaic Art NOW on Facebook and on my personal Facebook page as well.

    As you will see from the comments on Facebook, JeanAnn was much loved by our community. Several of us are wondering if UMW is creating a financial legacy to her memory on your campus. If so, please let me know, as we would welcome the opportunity to support it.

    Many of us can’t imagine the American mosaic community with her intelligence, warmth, joie de vivre and enthusiasm. JeanAnn Dabb was a lady in every sense of the word.

    Warm regards,