By PAM HARBAUGH
The Brevard cultural community awoke to sad news this morning: Dee Negroni Hendrick, an indefatigable force in the area’s art and culture scene, has passed away from a heart attack.
Dee Negroni Hendrick was the grand dame of the arts here and helped save the area’s premiere fine arts museum when she donated $1 million to Florida Tech to establish the Foosaner Art Museum, so named to honor her parents, attorney Samuel J. and artist Renee Foosaner.
The museum’s school, The Renee Foosaner Education Center, stands across the street from the museum.
Dee also loved the theater. My guess, that love was even more so than her love of fine arts. She gave a major donation to the Cocoa Village Playhouse and the Henegar Center.
I would often see Dee and her dear husband, Don Hendrick, at the theater. She loved both musicals and straight plays and just about any kind of artistic venture that would make people think.
Dee did not suffer fools very well. She was an immensely bright woman with a mind of her own. She had strong opinions about what constituted good art and good arts management. We had frequent conversations about what was going right, and wrong, with arts and culture in Brevard. When she got you on the phone, you had best grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a conversation that was great, lively and fun.
Dee also had a very deep love and abiding respect for her family. She was so proud of her husband, Don, and her children. She was always on the lookout for someone to take her photo with them.
I will certainly miss her bright smile, keen intellect and authentic passion for the arts…and her constant challenge to do better.
Rest in peace, Dee. You did well.
A memorial will be held for Dee 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, on what would have been her 84th birthday, at Rockledge Presbyterian Church, 921 Rockledge Dr, Rockledge, FL. It is open to the public.
The painting, above, is by Ray Turner and was featured in an exhibition at the Foosaner Art Museum.