I first met Betty Ragan sometime while working at Tacoma Art Museum or else showing at UPS Kittredge Gallery or perhaps even earlier. She was part of the brief but stunning Gallery Impromptu that arose after Art On Center Gallery closed in Tacoma. She also was part of Gallery 110.

My connection to Professor Ragan runs deeper in that she was instrumental to my wife, Jane Sobottka’s art education. Betty was a champion for many people but I suspect single mothers had a special place in her heart. She would allow Jane to often bring Courtney to class when a babysitter was unavailable.

If you are in any way connected to contemporary higher education environments you’ll understand that just isn’t a reality anymore–especially in a Printmaking class with heavy equipment and chemicals. In a weird way, every time I go through rules and student handbook items at my school, I think of Betty’s kindness to my family and smile.

When moving to Tacoma last summer I had to organize many a portfolio and flat file and several hand-written grade sheets for Jane’s prints and drawings had Betty’s feedback and encouragement.

Please take a moment and review her art on her website.

We were both shocked and saddened to hear Betty passed away last week. A beautiful obituary written by her son in in the News Tribune and I encourage you to read it here.

She was a fixture in the 253 Art scene, the art education scene and clearly was very active politically, socially and charitably. Goodspeed Professor Ragan.