In Remembrance

February 04, 2021

We are deeply saddened to share that Cynthia Creasey '74 passed away on January 19th from complications following a spinal cord injury suffered six months earlier. The living embodiment of the value of an arts education, Cynthia charted her own way in life. We invite you to read on below for a remembrance to Cynthia from her husband Mack McCoy and to read her obituary.

At the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, Cynthia found a community of young people and their instructors that she remains close to today.

Later on, after getting an MFA at Pratt, she teamed up with another artist to convert a shirt factory on the Lower East Side of Manhattan into three living lofts with a communal kitchen and bath; two for them and one to lease out to help cover the rent.

After “quitting” art, Cynthia used her skills to work as a carpenter, and then put them to use in creating beautiful spaces to live in – first, at the Dibble House, then the condo at Denny Way and her final one on First Hill. She also helped her buyers reimagine their new home and home sellers choose “neutral” colors that weren’t boring beige or grey.

Cynthia was a little bit of a curator, buying pieces from friends and artists she liked, but she also liked to buy crafts – in Madrid, she bought some olivewood kitchen utensils, then made us take a special trip back to the woman’s stand to buy some more to give out as gifts.

And, of course, clothes, always from either a consignment shop or one of the little boutiques scattered throughout the city. One of her favorites was a Massoni sweater, she “embarrassingly” paid like $500 for or something. On our last trip to New York, we walked by a Massoni store, and I urged her to go in and buy something. “I love these things,” she said, “But I just can’t spend three thousand dollars on a dress.” Well, my love, sixty-seven years old and you could afford it, you should have bought it. Now I have the three thousand dollars and you never wore the dress. Sigh.

“What’s your favorite color,” she was often asked. “I don’t have a favorite color,” she’d say, “you can do something with any color.” For most of her residential work, she used a variety of pale greens in balance with the floors and lighting and outlook from the windows; once, when preparing a home for a former administrator at The Museum Art School, the client said, “I’m sorry, Cynthia, I just don’t like the color green.” I had to butt in and say, “But, Phil, we’re not painting the place for you to live in, we’re painting it so you don’t have to pay the mortgage on it any longer!”

From art school to world traveler, a friend to many and hated by nobody (so far as I know), she was a “productive member of society,” and the real reason she didn’t buy the dress? She had carefully curated a collection of modestly-priced items, and a new $3,000 dress, no matter how beautiful, no matter how well it fit her, just didn’t fit into the collection.

-Mack McCoy, Cynthia's husband

A Celebration of Cynthia's Life is being planned for Saturday 20 March 2021 at 10:00am PST. Information will be posted on her remembrance page.