Obituary: Jacob Grossberg, 82

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Jacob Grossberg, sculptor, died August 20th at home with his wife at his side. He was 82. Born in Poland, he emigrated to the U.S. as a child. His family lived briefly in Kingston before moving to Brooklyn during his formative years. He enlisted in the Navy and served in Korea as a Marine Corpsman, later earning his BS and MFA at Brooklyn College and MA at Columbia Teachers College. His versatile academic preparation enabled him to teach in many settings, from high school science to post graduate art. He joined the faculty of Bard College in 1969 and continued until 1998. He, with others, designed the Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard and was its first director. A rising star in the New York art scene in the ’60s and ’70s, his work was shown widely throughout the U.S.


Known for his photographic memory and insatiable curiosity, his knowledge of topics far afield from his own was extensive. He will be remembered for his quick wit and penchant for telling Yiddish jokes. His passions included well-crafted tools, African art, and Japanese prints. He was a devoted husband, beloved teacher, and champion of the underdog. A former student said, “he had no respect for pretense, no patience with ego, and no time for insincerity. He was always a strong presence in the room, even when he wasn’t there.”

In addition to his loving wife, Diane Sisson Baldwin, and her sons and friends, Tim Kleeger and Ben Kleeger, he is survived by his brother Samuel, sisters Celia and Esther, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by brothers Israel and Frederick and sister Sarah.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, October 11th at 1 p.m. at the Bard College Alumni Center located adjacent to the main entrance of the college.

Donations may be made in his memory to The Hospice Foundation, 374 Violet Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.

To sign the online guestbook or for directions, please visit

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