Cartoon Art Museum Exec Gilchrist Dies

Rod Gilchrist, the executive director of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, died Feb 26 of brain cancer. He was 58.

Gilchrist was born in Detroit and earned an MFA from the Pratt Institute in New York in 1992. He came to the Cartoon Art Museum in 1998 and is credited with helping the institution survive during the dot-com boom when sky-high rents threatened to price the museum out of the market.

“We owe Rod a lot of thanks,” Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Rod kept that museum going with a staff of three, volunteers and wonderful board members, and he put on great shows.”

The museum moved in 2001 from Santa Rosa to downtown San Francisco, where it puts on seven major exhibitions a year and boasts a permanent collection of 6,000 pieces of original cartoon and comic artwork.

Gilchrist is survived by his life companion, Maryann Fleming; sons, Andrew Gilchrist, of Michigan, and Ryan Gilchrist, of California; his mother, Margaret Gilchrist; two sisters and a brother.

Gilchrist’s family asks that donations be made in his memory to the Cartoon Art Museum or Portola Family Connections.