The Worcester Art Museum mourns the loss of Henry B. Dewey, former Worcester Art Museum Board President, who passed away on October 23, 2023 at the age of 99. A distinguished lawyer, civic leader, and cultural advocate, Harry had a multi-generational connection to the Worcester Art Museum going back to its founding. Harry's father Francis H. Dewey, Jr. was a Museum Trustee, and his grandfather Francis H. Dewey II was the Museum’s third Board President, as well as the lawyer of WAM founder Stephen Salisbury III. Harry’s family even appears in the Museum’s collection—most notably a portrait of his grandmother Lizzie Bliss Dewey, painted by John Singer Sargent in 1890.
Harry carried on the family tradition of involvement at WAM, joining the Board of Trustees in 1966 and continuing in this role for three decades. His other volunteer roles included serving as a Corporator, on the Members’ Council, and on numerous committees, and he received the Museum’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 1997. Harry was a proponent of the value of planned giving. In the 1990’s Harry assisted the Worcester Art Museum in building a planned giving program. Along with his wife Jane, Harry’s generous support of WAM continued until his passing.
Harry was enthusiastically dedicated to Worcester’s cultural scene, and his impressive resume included Trustee of the Higgins Armory Museum, co-founder of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, and 2002 recipient of the Isaiah Thomas Award for distinguished community service, among many other involvements.
It is with great sadness and reverence that we honor our friend Harry Dewey, a true gentleman and pillar of the Worcester Art Museum, whose legacy will live on through his commitment to the Worcester community.