David Fred Yocum, 54, abstract sculptor

June 24, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

David Fred Yocum, a Baltimore sculptor whose work critics called "outrageous" and "idiosyncratic," died Friday of an infection at St. Joseph Medical Center. He was 54 and lived in Otterbein.

Mr. Yocum, who took prizes for his abstract clay and neon works, was among the first to restore a $1 house in the southern Baltimore neighborhood in the 1970s.

"His work evolved from little clay pots to incredible sculptures," said the Rev. Dale W. Dusman, pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, where a memorial service was held yesterday.

In 1974, Mr. Yocum won the $200 ribbon for his sculptural work "Dripping Bag" at the Maryland Biennial, held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. For the next 25 years, he exhibited his works widely -- at Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore Life Gallery, Firehouse Gallery in Washington and Philadelphia Art Alliance.

"He was a quiet man, and his forcefulness came out in his work," said friend Cecilia Chesno.

Born in Danville, Pa., Mr. Yocum was reared in Shamokin, Pa. He earned a bachelor's degree from Kutztown State University and a master's degree from Maryland Institute, College of Art. He moved to Baltimore in the late 1960s.

He taught art at West York High School for 29 years until his 1996 retirement. During his tenure, he was named department chairman.

Jack Knott, his companion of 28 years, died in 1997.

He is survived by his mother, Irene Yocum of Glassboro, N.J.; his brother, John Yocum of Langhorne, Pa. and a sister, Nancy Tregellas of Glassboro, N.J.

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