Jill McKeever Furst, 76, a major scholar in Mesoamerican studies, died October 30, 2020, in Easley, SC.
She was the author of Mojave Pottery/Mojave People: The Rick Dillingham Collection of Mojave Ceramics (2001), The Natural History of the Soul in Ancient Mexico (1995), North American Indian Art (with Peter T. Furst )(1982 and five revised editions 1999), Pre‑Columbian Art of Mexico (with Peter T. Furst) (1980), and Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I: A Commentary, (1978), along with numerous articles, book chapters and conference papers, She received her PhD from the University of New Mexico in 1977 in art history, with a specialization in pre-Columbian art and iconography.
She was a full professor in art history at Moore College of Art & Design from 1993-2010, and before that was associate professor at Moore. She was appointed to the Indian Arts Research Center, School of Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2004-2007. Before her appointment at Moore, she was an assistant professor of art history, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, 1973‑1975 and an adjunct assistant professor of art and ethnohistory, Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Albany, 1976‑1982.
While at Moore, she received several faculty research grants, and served as a commencement speaker for the senior class of 1992. She supervised numerous senior student theses and served on many committees, including the faculty development committee (2009-2010) and the student retention committee (2000-2009). She was also an artist in her own right, with exhibitions at the University of Pennsylvania, the Newmann Galleries, Bryn Mawr and others.
While in Philadelphia, she was generous with her time, participating in numerous Penn Museum workshops for public school teachers, mentoring student projects, giving lectures and courses at Rosemont College and Penn’s College of Continuing Studies, and delivering many lectures as a Commonwealth speaker, a program administered through the Penn Museum’s International Classroom. She had strong connections to the Penn Museum, not only as a consulting scholar from 1987 on, but as a frequent lecturer at Maya Weekends. She also prepared educational material for students in the Mesoamerican Gallery and served on the University of Pennsylvania Committee to draft the model for integrating the educational and research functions of the University of Pennsylvania Museum in 1996-1997.
After she retired to South Carolina, she took classes and taught classes through the Furman OLLI program for senior adults. Her many other interests included drawing, making beaded jewelry and learning Latin.
She is remembered warmly by her friends as someone rich in learning, anecdote and laughter.
She is survived by her daughter, Clare, and three grandchildren.
Contributions in Jill Furst's name may be made to Baptist Easley Hospital.