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Thomas Fulton McClure
University Record

Tom McClure, emeritus professor of art, died Feb. 11 at Glacier Hills Nursing Home. He was 88.

McClure was a well-known sculptor and artist. He taught at U-M for more than 30 years. His work can be seen in many museums including the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, Beloit College and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in addition to public and corporate collections such as the Ford Motor Co. and Michigan Blue Cross Shield, for whom he executed major commissions.

During McClure's long career, he was awarded 16 prizes in sculpture and painting from the following institutions: The Seattle Art Museum, The Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, the DIA, The Tulsa Art Museum, The Kalamazoo Institute of Art, The Grand Rapids Art Museum and State College, Pa. He has been cited in many books and magazines and is listed in "Who's Who of American Art" and the Smithsonian Institution's "Archives of American Art."

His sculpture frequently combined plastic and machine parts (often with humor) with human figures, suggesting that technical developments have made these devices an integral extension of the human body and an important part of modern living. A major sculpture, Elektra, is a robot-like figure that goes through a series of mechanical movements culminating in a fascinating display of lights. His paintings, like his sculpture, frequently deal with machines or the detritus of machines recast as human figures. Some are robot-like figures, similar to some of his sculptures, who engage in perfectly normal activities, marrying, dancing, sitting at a table. Many works reveal some small absurdity. For example, a figure within a painting interacts with the artist who is making the painting. In another painting, a robot is depicted painting a forest while observing a totally barren desert.

After retirement, McClure moved to Prescott, Ariz., and continued his lifelong work as a prolific artist creating scores of paintings, sculpture, and designing and building a house. In later years he began working on computer art and films. He also wrote several short stories and a novel. He developed a passion for hiking and took rigorous hiking trips weekly in the Arizona mountains and canyons. He also hiked throughout the world going to such exotic places as Nepal, China, Irian Jaya, New Zealand and Africa.

McClure was preceded in death by his wife of more than 60 years, Roberta McClure. He is survived by his daughter, Colleen Kotila of Ann Arbor; son, James McClure of Portola Valley, Calif; three grandchildren, Kim Kastenholz, Jennifer Walden and Shannon McClure; and three great-grandchildren, Abigail and Robert Kastenholz and Ella Walden.

— Submitted by Colleen Kotila