September 13, 2010

News & Events

Marijane Singer, museum director and civic volunteer, dies at 80

Mrs. Singer, of Woodcliff Lake, suffered from pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure, said her husband, Frederick.

“We’re known internationally but we aren’t known locally,” Mrs. Singer said in a 2008 interview with The Record, referring to the museum lodged in an 1893 carriage house on the former Blauvelt estate overlooking Kinderkamack Road. “If you aren’t into wildlife art, you probably never heard of us.” But wildlife artists heard of Mrs. Singer. She became the museum’s director about 25 years ago, after she joined the board of the Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation, a legacy of the philanthropist Hiram Blauvelt. Guy Coheleach, whose work is currently exhibited at the Blauvelt, said Mrs. Singer raised the profile of the museum, one of a handful in the United States dedicated to wildlife art.

“She was influential in getting the Society of Animal Artists, the largest and most proficient group of wildlife artists, to have their annual show at the Blauvelt a couple of times,” said Coheleach, of Hobe Sound, Fla. “You talk to any wildlife artist or anyone who knows nature art, and they know the Blauvelt Museum. Marijane was one of the most professional and efficient people I ever worked with.”

The California-born Mrs. Singer brought a record of volunteer leadership to her role with the Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation, which runs the museum. She became a trustee of Rutgers University in 1972 and was elected board chair in 1979, the first woman to hold that post. At the same time, she was president of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, the largest volunteer organization in the state.

In 2003, the Federation of Women’s Clubs and Rutgers’ Douglass College honored Mrs. Singer at the 22nd annual New Jersey Women of Achievement Awards ceremony at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion. Frederick Singer described his wife of 54 years as “a professional volunteer.”

“We moved to Woodcliff Lake in 1963 and within five years she was a member of the Pascack Woman’s Club,” he said. That served as a launching pad for Mrs. Singer’s various volunteer roles.

In addition to her husband, a former president of the Woodcliff Lake and Pascack Valley Regional boards of education, Mrs. Singer is survived by a daughter, Barbara Davis of Annapolis, Md.; a sister, Barbara Winters, and two grandchildren. The interment and memorial service will be private.

Monday, September 13, 2010 BY JAY LEVIN

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