Obituary for Royal Gay Nebeker III


Royal Gay Nebeker III


Feb. 22, 1945 — Sept. 6, 2014

Royal Gay Nebeker III, internationally acclaimed artist, much loved teacher and a leader in the state and local arts community, died Saturday, Sept. 6, after a long illness. He was 69 years old. He was born in San Francisco, Calif., and spent his early years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Utah before moving to Astoria, Ore., in 1974.

Royal received a master’s of fine arts (MFA) at Brigham Young University and received his second MFA in print making from the Royal Academy in Norway, where he lived and worked for many years. He taught for over 30 years at Clatsop Community College. He also taught at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, as well as at workshops locally, statewide and in Europe, with master printers and notable artists.

His paintings and prints have been widely exhibited in the United States, as well as in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and at the Louvre in Paris, France.

Royal was a well-known figure on the North Coast, an active voice in the cultural renaissance of Astoria and an advocate of historic preservation. For many years his studio was located in the historic net loft known as “Big Red,” which became an iconic symbol of Astoria. In the storm of 2007 the top floor of the net loft blew away, along with much of his art. He rebuilt, moved back in and went on to produce major exhibits in Hamburg, Germany; Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; and Davis, Calif. A major exhibition of his paintings is traveling currently to museums.

Royal’s family was the light of his life. He is survived by Sarah, his wife of 40 years, his muse and the manager of his art career. They were married in his beloved Norway. He is also survived by their three children, Wade (Carmen), Hannah and Israel; four grandchildren, Taylor, Dylan, Elijah and Asher; as well as his two brothers, Brad and Burke; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Royal was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He served a 2.5-year mission in Norway. His family was of Scandinavian descent, and he fell in love with the Norwegian culture. Norwegian artist Edvard Munch was an early influence on Royal’s work.

Royal was an Oregon Arts Commissioner for two terms. He initiated a program of grants for individual artists. He championed many rural, indigenous and ethnic artists in Oregon. The Royal Nebeker scholarship fund has been established, and contributions may be made through Clatsop Community Bank, Astoria.

He was an Eagle Scout and a world traveler who loved to immerse himself in other cultures. He was an avid skier and taught skiing as a college student to make ends meet; he counted as his students a young Robert Redford and Paul Newman. He was an adventurer who summited Mt. Rainier three times.

All will be welcomed to celebrate his life at the memorial service to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept.13, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1403 S. Wahanna Road, Seaside, Ore.

Hughes-Ransom Mortuary in Seaside is in charge of arrangements. Visit to leave memories and sign the guest book.

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