Jack Stuppin 1933-2022
For decades he was the life of the party.
The party usually began and ended at Coffee Grounds, his spacious home on Coffee Lane. There were summer parties around the swimming pool and winter parties, especially at Christmas, with holiday food and drink.
I met Jack through the Sonoma County Book Festival which he helped create along with his pal, Dana Gioia, the poet, though others including Karen Petersen and J. J. Wilson played leading rules.
For years I saw Jack at least once a week, usually at his studio on Graton Road, where he painted Sonoma County landscapes and used the brightest and wildest colors. I couldn’t look at a mountain, valley, lake, or stream without seeing Jack’s art. He put his own stamp on the county and county artists, art collectors and art lovers embraced him.
An odd fellow, he balanced life as a banker and as a bohemian. Most bankers stick to banking; most bohemians stick to bohemia. Jack wandered back and forth from the world of money and money-making to the world of art and artists.
Born in Yonkers, New York in 1933, he attended Columbia College, as I did, graduating nearly a decade before me. We shared a sense of New York bustle. Jack made a ton of money and used a ton of money to make colorful cards with his own artwork that he used to promote himself and his canvases. I still have a painting he gave me that depicts an idyllic scene on Morelli Lane above Camp Meeker where I lived for several decades.
While Jack courted the bohemian lifestyle and mixed with fellow artists such as Tony King, William Morehouse, and Bill Wheeler, he didn’t live and work in a garret. His elegant studio could have served as a second home. He usually didn’t paint alone, but with assistants, he instructed and guided, though only his name appeared on his canvases.
If he was loud and imposing, he could also be a good listener. Years ago, I wrote and performed a poem titled “I’m More Important Than You.” Some thought I meant to skewer Jack. I didn’t. He always was a good friend and a generous neighbor who served as a patron and helped me launch my own books at Coffee Grounds.
Jack, I already miss you.