Col. Edgar William Garbisch, 80, and his wife, Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 72, known for their collection of American primitive paintings, many of which they gave to the National Gallery of Art, died within 12 hours of of each other this week in Cambridge, Md.
Col. Garbisch, who had suffered a series of heart attacks and several strokes, died of a massive stroke Thursday night at Dorchester County General Hospital.
Mrs. Garbisch was pronounced dead there Friday morning. Her death is under investigation.
The couple, who had been married for nearly 50 years, maintained an estate, Pokety, near Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. It was built by her father, the late auto magnate Walter P. Chrysler. The couple moved there shortly after his death in 1940. They also had a home in New York but in recent years spent most of their time at Pokety.
The house, which was originally a copy of a hunting lodge, was renovated to resemble an 18th century Georgian home in every architectural detail. Other rooms were added, and all the furnishings were authentic of the period.
To adorn the walls, the Garbisches collected American paintings, which became one of the largest and most comprehensive collections ever assembled. At one time, there were more than 2,600 early American paintings in the collection.
Parts of their collection were exhibited around the world. Many of the paintings became gifts to the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., which was founded by Mrs. Garbisch's brother, Walter P. Chrysler Jr.
In the early 1960s, Mrs. Garbisch presented a gift of early American furniture of the White House. Much of it was placed in the public rooms.
She and her husband restored Old Trinity Episcopal Church (circa 1675) at Church Creek, not far from Cambridge.
Col. Garbisch was a retired Army officer who had been All-America in 1922, 1923 and 1924 while playing football at the Military Academy at West Point, of which he was a graduate. He served in World War i and left the Army in 1945.
The couple is survived by a son, Edgar W. Jr., of Saint Michaels, Md.; a daughter, Gwynne Severance of Newton Square, Pa., and three grandchildren.
Col. Garbisch also is survived by two sisters, Ruth, of Burbank, Calif., and Mollie, of Easton, Md. Mrs. Garbisch's brother, Walter P. Chrysler Jr., lives in Norfolk.