Caroline Macomber, artist, Phillips Collection board member, dies at 79

Caroline Macomber, 79, a watercolorist who had served the past 20 years on the board of the Phillips Collection art museum in the District, died Jan. 27 at her home in Washington. She had complications from liver cancer.

The death was confirmed by her daughter Janet Williamson.

Caroline Morgan was born in New York City and was a direct descendent of the Morgan banking family. She was a 1954 cum laude graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and the next year married John D. Macomber. He was chairman and chief executive of the Celanese chemical company when it was sold in 1987 to the West German chemical manufacturer Hoechst for a reported $2.8 billion.

The Macombers spent much of their life in Europe and New York. They settled in Washington in 1989 when John Macomber became president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.

Over the years, Mrs. Macomber participated in educational, cultural and conservation activities primarily in Washington and New York. Her memberships included the Georgetown Garden Club, the Ocean Conservancy and the McLean Foreign Policy Group, a foreign affairs organization for women.

Until her death, she had chaired a Phillips Collection fundraising group focused on bequests. She also played a leading role on the board during a major building renovation and expansion completed in 2006.

Besides her husband of 56 years, survivors include three children, Janet Williamson of Portland, Ore., Elizabeth Macomber of Vashon, Wash., and William Macomber II of Los Angeles; a sister; a brother; and six grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein