Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 4:46 PM on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paula Schildhauer Dickey

Jan. 8, 1937-Aug. 12, 2011

Paula Schildhauer Dickey, artist and art educator, died Aug. 12, 2011, in Homer, after an 11-year struggle with ovarian cancer.


Paula Schildhauer Dickey

She was born Jan. 8, 1937, in New Holstein, Wis., to Elsie Iversen and Fred Schildhauer. She graduated from Laurence University in Appleton, Wis., and then married Brad Dickey of Worthington, Minn. They had one son, Devon, prior to moving to Alaska in 1971.

Paula worked for the Anchorage School District as a substitute art and art resource teacher. She traveled statewide for the Alaska State Arts Council as an artist-in-residence for both urban and Bush communities. She earned her masters of liberal arts degree at Alaska Pacific University and shortly thereafter she headed the art department at APU for 8 1/2 years. After moving to Homer in 1992, Paula taught for the Homer branch of the university for over eight years and gave art workshops in Alaska and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, studio work increased both private and public with numerous solo shows, invitational and juried shows in Alaska and the Lower 48. In the 1980s, Brad and Paula began creating public (mostly 1-percent for art) commissions in Alaska and Outside, eventually completing more than 20 major works in health centers, correctional institutes, schools, churches, state ferries and the performing arts center in Anchorage.

In Homer, Paula helped promote the arts with the Bunnell Street Arts Center Artists-In-Schools committee, the Pratt Museum Ritz Art committee, and was a continuous board member in the Kachemak Bay Watercolor Society from its inception in the '90s. She served on an original board of the Eagle River Fine Arts Academy, and later on the Augustine Artists board and the large grant panel for the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Although dealing with health issues and the death of her son Devon in 2000, she credits her bonus years to three remarkable doctors: Dr. Ruth Higdon, GYN surgeon; Dr. Saul Rivkin, oncologist at Swedish Cancer Center in Seattle; and Dr. William Kelley, internist in Soldotna.

This quote from her road-rally friend, Cheryl, expresses Paula's thoughts: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!!!'"

In lieu of any celebration of life, there will be two celebrations of art with the opening of Paula's newest series of paintings completed in July, 2011. The ConocoPhillips Gallery at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage will host her solo show opening from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 7, 2011. The Picture Alaska Art Gallery in Homer will host her solo show 5-7:30 p.m. Nov. 4, 2011. A new book by Jannah Atkins about Paula's public art career will be available there. All are welcome.

No memorials, please. Condolences may be sent to Brad Dickey, P.O. Box 2677, Homer, AK 99603.