William Magee FieldJuly 17, 1933 ~ January 15, 2018 (age 84)
William M. Field, 84, passed away on Monday, January 15th.
William, known to most as Bill, was born in Santa Fe to Dr. Wallace Everett Brown and Lois Dempster Field on July 17, 1933. Bill grew up riding horses in the hills around his grandparent’s Cerro Gordo home, surrounded by Spanish colonial, folk and native arts. He attended the Waring School as a boy, just across the river, and then graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, MA in 1951. A member of the Harvard class of 1955, he completed his BA in anthropology in 1957, after serving two years active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, 2nd Infantry Division in the Korean War.
After college, Bill worked briefly for the New Haven Railroad on the famed Merchants Club Car, a culmination of his lifelong love for the railroad. Soon, building on his artistic talents as Stars & Stripes cartoonist and Hasty Pudding Club theatricals producer, Bill went on to join the design department at the Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, MA. While at Polaroid he met the love of his life, the gracious and radiant Maureen “Sam” Field, who he married in 1970 and with whom he spent nearly every single day for the next 50 years.
During his years in Cambridge, he produced Newport Folk Festivals, and was actively involved in many civil rights and community organizations, including the Boston Chapter for the Congress of Racial Equality. For nearly 20 years at Polaroid and while Director of Design, Bill established an international design department. In 1976, along with his wife Maureen, they returned to Santa Fe with their family where he founded William Field Design on Palace Avenue.
Bill’s work maintained a national presence throughout his career and garnered over 400 local, regional, and national design awards, including the recognition as Art Director of the Year by the New York Art Director’s Club. Bill was known for his generosity in sharing his work with many nonprofit organizations in the interest of supporting and enriching his own community. Continuing on the preservation efforts of his mother, he remained a driving force behind the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and the Spanish Market. Educating others in the graphic arts was a personal endeavor for Bill, and during his career he taught at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston Museum School, Harvard’s Carpenter Center and the Santa Fe Community College.
In 2003 Bill was named the first Director of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, retiring in 2010, but continuing to serve as exhibit designer and consultant. He received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture in 1997, was appointed to the New Mexico Arts Commission in 2001, received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2007 and was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 2010. Bill was an honorary member of the Santa Fe Rotary Foundation and the St. Vincent Hospital Auxiliary. He served on many community boards, among them were School of American Research, Santa Fe Community Foundation, the Old Santa Fe Association and the Spanish Colonial Arts Society.
Bill will be remembered by many as embodying the highest spirit of Old Santa Fe; warmth, kindness, friendship, neighborliness, generosity, and genuineness. His beautiful smile could light up a room. He is survived by his wife, Maureen, his daughters Elizabeth and Katherine (Rick), his three children from a previous marriage Margaret, William and Sarah, his nieces Lois Redding (Bud), Meghan Gordon and Alexis Corning-Padilla and nephews Ben Dooling (Lauren) and Arthur Friedman, sister-in-law Judith Corning-Padilla, brother-in-law Brian Corning (Kathleen), many beloved grand grandnieces and grandnephews, and ‘his heart,’ granddaughter Emma Tsosie.
He will be interred at the National Cemetery in a private ceremony. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, February 2nd from 1 to 3 pm at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts, with a reception to follow at the Hotel Santa Fe until 6pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in his name to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.