MARGARET RANDALL (RANDY) ASH, born April 12, 1943 in Des Moines, Iowa died November 7, 2014 in Denver, Colorado at Lutheran Hospital after a long illness. Services were private. Ash resided in Denver, Colorado since 1987 where she was a professional paintings conservator. She founded M. Randall Ash and Associates, LLC in 1995 serving museums, galleries and private collectors in the US and South America. Ash worked with the Anschutz Collection of Western Art, Montana Historical Society, Montana State Capitol, and the Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As Senior Paintings Conservator for the Rocky Mountain Conservation Center at the University of Denver from 1987 – 1995, she built relationships in South America through the Fulbright Foundation and the US State Department. Ash was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for an educational conservation program in La Paz, Bolivia, and received an Academic Specialist Grant from the US State Department to teach in Caracas, Venezuela on new materials and methods in painting conservation. She later received support from the US State Department and Banco Boliviana to teach painting conservation in La Paz, Bolivia, and then organized a residency program for museum professionals from Panama and Costa Rica with a Smithsonian /Fulbright Central American Training Partnership. In the West, she conserved murals in the Pierre, SD State Capitol, the Siouxland Heritage Museum in Sioux Falls, SD and the Colorado State Capitol Annex. As a conservator in private practice in Baltimore, Maryland from 1985-1987, Ash worked with collections in Baltimore, Washington and throughout the Midwest, including the Meyerhoff Collection of Contemporary Art in Phoenix, MD and the International Folk Museum in Santa Fe, NM. As Conservator for the Baltimore Museum of Art from 1974-1985 Ash was responsible for the collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, and assisted as technical editor for museum publications on the American Paintings collection and the Cone Collection catalogue, and advised on collection storage and installation during museum renovations. As a freelance conservator in Des Moines, Iowa from 1969-1974, Ash conserved six Grant Wood murals at Iowa State University Library in Ames, IA funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, contracted with the General Services Administration (GSA) to survey WPA murals throughout Iowa, and conserved 16th and 17th c. Italian crèche figures at Simpson College in Indianola, IA. Years later she conserved the murals in the Iowa Supreme Court building. Ash held a Samuel H. Kress Foundation Fellowship in painting conservation at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from 1968-69 and a Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA) Fellowship in 1967 to conserve paintings in Florence, Italy after the 1966 floods. Ash received an M.A. from University of Iowa in Art History, Studio Art and Conservation in 1968, and a B.A. in Art History from Maryville College of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis, MO in 1965 with a semester in Rome, Italy through Loyola University, Chicago. Ash served on the Fulbright Scholar Awards Discipline Advisory committee from 1993-1998 and on the Fulbright Scholar awards Application Review committee in 1992. Ash was a Fellow in the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), an Associate member of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) and a member of the Western Association for Art Conservators (WAAC), Midwest Regional Conservation Group (MRCG), Washington Conservation Group (WCG), and served on the Board of the Maryland Craft Council from 1982-84 and the Curators of Maryland Arts from 1983-1986. Ash mentored many junior colleagues and maintained close friendships as these conservators moved on in their careers. She was a fine practitioner of conservation, an avid collector of art glass and Guadalupes, a committed gardener of roses and tomatoes, a fabulous cook, a gracious hostess and a genuine friend to many. Her unique, artistic style and grand presence brought color and joy to every room. She will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues around the world.
Margaret Randall Ash was preceded in death by her mother, Margaret Anne Amundson McKinsey Ash and her father, Robert Browne Ash, and is survived by her cousins, Steve Ash and Kathy Hayden (Ash), Susan Ash Bruun, William and Elizabeth Ash Schreiber and nieces, Maria Regina Schreiber and Elizabeth Schreiber-Byers, her dog, Olivia, and close friend, Jane Powell. A memorial service will be held in Denver, CO on April 12, 2015 and private internment will be held at Glendale Cemetery in Des, Moines, IA.