Outer Banks Icon Glenn Eure Dies at 86
We are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of a true Outer Banks icon in every sense of the word, our friend Glenn Eure, a local legend, an American patriot, and an incomparably talented visionary artist.
Glenn Eure died on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. He was 86.
Born on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, he was 11 years old when he was among those evacuated to the mainland following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He went on to graduate from the East Carolina University School of the Arts with a fine arts degree in printmaking and minors in painting and sculpture. After serving in the U.S. Army with two tours in Korea and another two in Vietnam, Eure relocated to the Outer Banks in the late 1970s, where he soon designed and built his Ghost Fleet Gallery in what has since become known as the Gallery Row area of Nags Head.
It was here where he met his wife and partner, Pat, a soft spoken and immensely talented artist and writer in her own right. She was the calm, quiet Yin to Glenn’s louder, more excitable Yang.
In the early 2000s, I worked as a writer and photographer at The Coastland Times, where one of my first assignments, this directly from the paper’s owner/editor/publisher Francis Meekins himself, was to meet with Glenn Eure and get the scoop on his idea for a new monument celebrating the first 100 years of aviation, and to follow the story wherever it went. It was my first meeting with Glenn and Pat, and it led to many years of regular correspondence and friendship, as I did indeed follow that story, from its inception as one of Glenn’s drawings, to its eventual realization years later as the Icarus Monument to a Century of Flight, which stands at the visitors center in Kitty Hawk.
One of the proudest professional highlights of my life was when Glenn and Pat asked to show some of my photos documenting the creation of the monument in an exhibit at the Ghost Fleet Gallery, which would be shown during the centennial anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight in December of 2003. They saw my images as “art”, perhaps even more than I did at the time, and it gave me the confidence to follow quite a few unimaginable dreams of my own to fruition in the years since, like the Wrights a hundred years before and like Glenn with his monument.
When the Monument to a Century of Flight was ultimately completed, the Eures again asked for some of my photos from throughout my coverage of its creation, which they placed into a time capsule buried at the base of the monument, to be opened in a century. In doing so, the same couple who showed me that my work is art, taught me that it is also immortal. The world will change around that monument, but those photos of what was there before, during, and after it was built will remain unchanged, forever, yet another lesson from the Eures, about the power of art.
When Sue and I got married on the beach in Nags Head in 2008, Glenn and Pat Eure were there, and his wedding gift hangs in our living room to this day. Another drawing Glenn had previously given to me, this one of Blackbeard, hangs in my office, with what is probably my favorite inscription ever, “A pirate for a pirate, from an old, fat pirate”. That was Glenn.
In 2014, when we launched our online series OBXE TV, one of those crazy Eure-inspired dreams we followed, one of the first people I contacted to be interviewed on the show was Glenn Eure. We wanted our guests to be “local celebrities”, and there was not many bigger than Glenn. As in person, his unique sense of humor and huge heart are on full display in the candid interview, which you can watch below.
Glenn Eure is and will be greatly missed.
A Mass of the Resurrected will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 14, at 11am at Holy Redeemer by the Sea Catholic Church, where Eure, at age 78 after more than a decade working on the project, completed carving the nearly life-sized 14 Stations of the Cross.
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Matt, so sorry to read about Glenn. We met him and purchased a work of art in May, and that work hangs proudly in our sun room here in Portsmouth. He personalized it for us. The sad thing is I took many photos that afternoon of me, my husband Chuck and Glenn together with Pat — and a computer crash later in the summer depleted all my photos including those of Glenn. He truly was one of a kind. That room upstairs that Pat assembled for him was indeed another great work of art. As a former editor who like you carries many subjects I have interviewed and interacted through the years in my heart, this piece you have written on Glenn is a great testimony. Fortunately, I have both of his books which he personally autographed so I can share him with others. We were looking forward to visiting him in his studio this fall when we would be back in Nags Head for the off-season. Many thanks for writing from the heart. – Susan Kalan