Garry Knox Bennett left this world unexpectedly, during the night, in his art-filled home above his studio in Oakland, California on January 28, 2022.
Born to Katherine von Tagen and Robert Bennett in 1934, he was a third generation Alamedan. His exuberant personality and love for life was formed growing up in California in the 1940s where the wild west attitude made anything possible and everything was an adventure.
Garry trained in painting, drawing and sculpture at the California College of Arts and Crafts in the late 1950s. He recalled sitting in class, a cigarette in one hand a beer can on the table and a naked woman posing at the front of the classroom, his response was, “I think I’m going to be an artist.” In the 1960s he used his metal working skills to make roach clips, peace signs and jewelry. He found a ready market with the hippies descending on San Francisco ultimately selling to premier head shops internationally and opening his own two stores.
Enormously successful, his company, Squirkenworks, which thrived during the Summer of Love era, would serve as the financial springboard to pursuing his art career full time. Bennett blazed a trail through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s to become one of the most influential furniture makers of the studio furniture movement. His humor and opinionated views guided his artistic endeavors.
Ever the provocateur, he burst into woodworking discourse in 1979 with his “Nail Cabinet,“ a 6’ tall exquisitely crafted display cabinet made from Paduak featuring a large bent nail which had been bludgeoned into the face of the piece right at eye level. A photo of it appeared in Fine Woodworking magazine captioned, “Decoration vs Desecration.” Critic Arthur Danto praised the work calling it “philosophizing with a hammer.”
Garry was internationally respected and known for his prolific boundary-busting designs, fearless use of color and unconventional materials. His clever interpretations of furniture, particularly chairs, was unparalleled. He received many honors including the award of Distinction from the Furniture Society, the James Renwick Alliance Master of the Medium Award and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Renwick Smithsonian, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Oakland Museum, the National Museum of Sweden, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MOMASF and many others.
His attitude towards life was provocative, his love for Sylvia, his life mate and his helpmate was complete. Together, through making, collecting and promoting, they changed the way we think about the Modern Craft Movement. Garry Knox Bennett was a giant of a man, Master furniture maker and a joker extraordinaire. Behind a gruff exterior he was kindness and generosity incarnate. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife of 62 years, sons Josh (Alicia), Aaron (Felicia), daughter Jessica (David) Weaver, granddaughter Ariana and his newly acquired grandchildren, Reverie, Noah, Tao and Joshua (Scohy).
Following his wishes there will be no formal service.
Our precious Tiffany passed away unexpectantly on March 5, 2022 at the age of 33. Tiffany has always been a free spirit and is now with our Lord. She was born in Hayward, CA. Tiffany went to grammar school in Dublin, CA, grew up in Alameda CA and was baptized at Calvary Alameda, CA. She is survived by her father Ed Song, Mary Feehan Song, her mother Carolyn Scott, and her sister Vanessa Song. She is also survived by her previous husband Demarcus Thornton, her daughter Tanaya Thornton and son Marcus Thornton, her auntie Caroline Langton, cousin Robert Langton and her uncle Charles Scott. She is preceded in death by her grandmothers Im Brunk and Bertha Scott, her uncle Greg Langton and her aunties Mary Scott, Betty Scott, and Debra Scott.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Calvary Alameda located at 1516 Grand St, Alameda, CA 94501 on April 2, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
Heritage-Dilday Memorial Services, 17911 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA 92647 (714) 842-7771
John Howard Sanderson of Alameda, CA, beloved husband and brother, passed away on March 18, 2022, in the Alameda Hospital due to complications from congestive heart failure. John was born on October 1, 1943, in Kansas City, MO, and was adopted as an infant by Carl and Dorothy Sanderson of Anoka, MN. In 1947 his parents moved to Sparks, NV, where John grew up.
He graduated from Sparks High School in 1961. John was an outstanding athlete and lettered in football, basketball and track for three years running. Basketball was his favorite sport, but his 5’8” height limited his prospects after high school. He was awarded a football scholarship to the College of Southern Utah but chose to leave after one semester. College was not for him.
John was drafted into the Army in 1965 and served in Germany until his honorable discharge in 1967.
Even as a youth, John dreamed of traveling the world, and after high school graduation, he spent the summer touring Europe with a college group. That trip fueled his passion for learning about the world through travel.
To pay for his trips, he went to work in Sparks as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, a career that lasted 36 years. In 1974 on a Love Boat cruise to Mexico, he met his soul and travel mate, Pat Delaney, and they were married in 1976, a marriage that lasted 46 years until his death.
Upon marrying Pat, John moved to San Francisco, where she lived. He then transferred to the Alameda Post Office. In 1986 they moved to Alameda, her hometown. John continued as a letter carrier in Alameda until his retirement in 1997.
John and Pat carried on their love of travel during their vacations and increased their journeys upon retirement. Some of the unique trips they most enjoyed were to India, Africa (safaris), Vietnam, Cambodia, Morocco, Burma, Papua New Guinea, and Timbuktu. John had a fantastic memory and recall that amazed everyone. He had several close friends and was known for his wicked sense of humor.
John was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Pat, of Alameda, brother, Dale Sanderson (Linda) of Sparks, NV, sister-in-law, Hope Noyes (John) of Whitefish, MT, and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent, in John’s name, to Doctors Without Borders.
At this time, no memorial service is planned. KLMs, John.
For further information Please call, Harry W. Greer, Funeral Director (FDR-745). Alameda Funeral and Cremation Services, 510-522-6020