Well-known local artist dies

A gracious lady, charismatic artist, historian, deacon and community member has departed.

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Sabra Eagan

But the late Sabra Eagan’s works of canvas and stone, kindness and blessing long will remain.

She died May 22.

Her last work is yet to be revealed in the healing garden of the future St. Mary’s Health Center.

The 8-foot, Carerra marble statue of the Holy Mother — “Stella Maris,” Latin for Star of the Sea — was anonymously commissioned in 2005 as part of the hospital’s centennial celebration.

The Stella Maris holds a five-pointed star made of Venetian blue glass with a seashell at her feet and a peaceful, upward gaze.

St. Mary’s Director of Marketing Bev Stafford confirmed that an agreement recently has been made with the Cervetes marble studio in Pietro Santo, Italy, to move forward with the project based on Eagan’s artwork, established relationships, samples and models and detailed instructions the late artist had written in both languages.

“We benefited greatly from her getting to this point; her spirit will be with it always,” Stafford said. “It will move forward without gaps in vision or understanding; that was part of her absolute talent to bring her art to life.

“She was able to articulate so well, the vision already was living within those involved in the project.”

The production process will last up to 14 months. However, the hospital’s intent remains to have the Stella Maris in place when it opens, Stafford said.

“For Bev and me, it’s been a joy,” said Diane Lowry, formerly with the St. Mary’s Foundation. “We’ve known Sabra a long time; it has been an interesting journey.

“She became part of the St. Mary’s family.”

Eagan served on the hospital’s board of regents for many years.

“But it was a spiritual journey for the statue to come about,” Stafford said. “Sabra’s interpretation of the Mother Mary had a deep meaning for her life.”

The Stella Maris and the garden have been positioned, with Eagan’s input, so that nearly all of the 167 patient rooms and the two-story atrium will have a view. She also met with landscapers and architects to ensure every piece of the garden, benches, base an plantings would accentuate the marble image.

In May 2012, Eagan was awarded the Mrs. William H. Weldon Lifetime Achievement Award by the Zonta Club of Jefferson City.

Eagan won more than 60 national and international awards and held more than 100 shows and personal exhibits in Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the United States.

She always was quick to give credit for her success to her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Eagan.

In 1975, she received the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award.

And in 1979, she became the first Missouri painter officially recognized with a Resolution of Commendation and Appreciation by the Missouri State Senate and House of Representatives.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephens College and a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University of Dallas. She studied fashion design at New York University, Parsons School of Design and Hunter College.

When art and Venice called, Eagan studied with the Associzione Italo-Americana, The University Dante Alighieri of Rome, and world-renowned glass artist Luciano Dall’Acqua.

Although her career took her around the world, Eagan continued to be involved in community organizations locally.

She was a deacon at First Presbyterian Church and board member for the Cole County Historical Society and its foundation. She was a long-time host for the Morning Music Club.

And Eagan also volunteered with the St. Louis Art Museum, Capital City Council on the Arts and Stephens College Alumnae Association of Jefferson City.

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