December 3, 1926 – December 30, 2022
Jack Crosby Schuman died peacefully on Dec. 30 in Ashland.
Born Dec. 3, 1926, in Pueblo, Colorado, he was the only son of Louis and Alice Peck Schuman. In 1937 the family moved to La Jolla, California, where Jack enrolled in Brown Military Academy in San Diego.
Late in World War II Schuman participated in the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program at Washington State University. After basic training at Camp Roberts in California, he was assigned to the USS George Clymer, an attack transport assigned to take part in the planned invasion of Japan. En route, while the ship was reprovisioning in the Philippines, Japan surrendered. Schuman became part of the occupation forces.
He found the Japanese population unexpectedly welcoming. Schuman’s mother sent him a Kodak Brownie camera, and during nearly a year in occupied Japan, he took many pictures and made countless friends. A few years ago, friends helped Schuman compile a book of those photos, side-by-side with letters to his mother.
After his Army career Schuman earned master’s degrees in musicology and library science from the University of Southern California. He was accepted to the University of London Courtauld Institute of Art, where he received a master’s of philosophy in art history. But before heading to Europe, he married Dorinda Shearer in 1957. They were wedded for more than 40 years.
During their two years at Courtauld, they traveled extensively together in the United Kingdom and the continent. In 1966 they volunteered to help recover and preserve library resources in Florence, Italy, after a major flood. From 1972 to 1992 they traveled through Europe, Asia and North Africa.
While traveling, Jack and Dorinda began their lifetime collection of historical musical instruments, which formed the basis for the extensive Schuman Collection, now housed at Southern Oregon University. During that time, Schuman also spent three years working for the U.S. military in Bavaria, Germany.
Returning to the U.S., Jack spent several years at the University of Michigan library system before getting his doctorate in art history at the University of Washington. Shortly after, he was appointed to the faculty of the Washington State University, eventually becoming a full professor.
Jack loved performing in various music ensembles and was part of the Early Music Revival. He had played at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego as a youngster before the war. His favorite performing instruments were the Viol da Gamba, Lute, and Vile à Rose (also known as the Hurdy Gurdy), which he played well into his 80s.
Jack took great interest in photographing people in their traditional cultural settings during his innumerable travels, which led to gallery viewings of his work and later several books of his photography.
Jack was a popular professor at Washington State. His classes on art history, informed by his first-hand experiences in Europe, were well-attended. His warmth and good humor created a welcoming environment for all. Jack had an uncanny wit and was an inveterate punster.
Jack’s faith was important to him. He was a member of the Christian Science church in Ashland, Oregon, for more than 30 years. He was blessed with a brilliant mind, and was a kind and thoughtful man.
Jack is survived by his sister, Marilyn Wertheimer of Boulder, Colorado and many friends.
A special memorial concert will be held in Jack’s honor at 3 p.m. May 7, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Ashland, Oregon. It will feature the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra and chorus. For tickets and information, please go to jeffersonbaroque.org or call 541-531-5974.
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