Remembering Richard Hyslin
Richard Hyslin, aged 77, died May 9, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. Raised in Portland Oregon, Richard initially earned a BA degree in Chemistry at Oregon State University, and then pursued his true passion for ceramics and sculpture, earning his MA at the University of New Mexico. He accepted a teaching position in 1968 at Pan American College, now The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
During his 47 years at Pan American, he established and developed the ceramics program and facilities and later, during the UT-Pan American era, he oversaw the sculpture program and development of new facilities.
Serving as Chair of the Art Department for 13 years he was critical in the overall excellence of the department. He was a recognized artist who exhibited his ceramics and sculpture nationally and internationally, including the creation of a 50 ft. Virgin of Guadalupe statue in Windsor, Ohio, and more recently a steel work accepted at Grounds for Sculpture, headquarters for the International Sculpture Center.
He was preceded in death by his parents Catherine and Thor Hyslin. He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 44 years, sons Lee Hyslin, Zachary Hyslin, daughter Kirstin Somsen, son-in-law Herman Somsen and beloved grandson Dylan Somsen.
A celebration of his life was held May 14, 2016 at Grace Presbyterian Church.
Perhaps his most lasting and important contribution has been as a teacher. He has served as instructor, mentor and friend to generations of artists in the Rio Grande Valley. He will be missed.
“Looking back, it seems like Richard Hyslin and I sailed through the last three decades of the 20th century together as colleagues with the best jobs ever – memorable students and the space to create whatever art we wanted. Richard arrived at Pan American College in the late 60s, a year before I got there, and had already established the ceramics area complete with two large gas kilns. At this time, the college served 5,000 students in Edinburg, a rural town with a population of 17,000. We started out sharing an office, and then later shared the department as Chairs at both Pan American University and UT-Pan American.”
“During all that time we never experienced any major conflicts; if there was a studio course that suddenly needed an instructor, Hyslin was the guy. His painting class was amazing, and I still fondly remember our clandestine team-taught life drawing class before it was approved by the administration. Philip Field accompanied us with that one. When his interest shifted, Richard developed the sculpture area. His artistic excellence was always unwavering. Did I mention that he was a recognized artist on the national level in both ceramics and sculpture? His was a precious era that will never be replaced.” – Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of Art, UTRGV
It’s hard to imagine a world without you; so many things left to do. But I am so very thankful for our friendship. You left an incredible mark in this world by the works you created and the people whose lives you touched. I am very grateful to have been a part of it and will cherish the time spent working by your side. You were a true teacher, allowing your students to find their way, all while providing a nurturing environment to hone their craft. I will keep the forge in my heart running, that you lit so many years ago, and continue the journey.
– Brian Wedgworth, artist