In Memoriam Jeffrey Syman, 68 May 17, 1954 – February 11, 2023

In Memoriam

Jeffrey Syman, 68

May 17, 1954 – February 11, 2023

Jeffrey Syman

DAVENPORT—Jeffrey Syman passed away on February 11, 2023 at the age of 68, with his family by his side. Jeff was born May 17, 1954 in New York. He was raised in Bronxville, New York before his family moved to Connecticut in the early 1960s. He graduated from Danbury High School, where he was captain of the tennis team. He went on to study at the University of Miami until his junior year, prior to moving to ​​Schenevus, New York, in the early ‘70s.

Known to many as “the man behind the art,” Jeff founded SymanArts, where he built frames and stretchers with unique hardware to stretch the frame, along with many other styles. Two of his mentors, Richard Artschwager, and Ivan Carp, former owner of the OK Harris Gallery, encouraged Jeff to open the business.

By design, Jeff always had his clients’ needs at the front of his mind. He worked with artists such as Wolf Kahn, Peter Halley, Robert Ryman, Chuck Close, Bob Mangold and countless other talents. Today, Jeff’s stretchers are hanging behind some of the greatest art in the greatest museums—“the wrong side of the canvas,” as Jeff would say.

What many might call a “Key West” renaissance man, Jeff’s first love was always music. He played piano and bass, but his primary love was the guitar. He was the lead vocalist in the Kennesaw Mountain Boys, a band based in Cooperstown, New York that played at The Otesaga Hotel, Red Shed Brewery and the Leatherstocking Golf Course during the golden hours of many summer evenings.

When not on land, Jeff could be found on his floating cottage on Otsego Lake or on his Key West, Florida-docked sailboat, Joie De Vivre, a name that translates to “the joy of living.” Jeff enjoyed living like few others. A USCG-certified captain, Jeff did charters for several years. He sailed around the Dry Tortugas off the coast of Florida and several times to Havana, Cuba. He spent many winters in Key West and his last several years in Samara, Costa Rica, where he saw “heaven on earth” in the sand outside his casita on the Pacific. When in Europe, he traveled the canals of France on a barge with friends and wandered the cliffs of the Amalfi coast.

Jeff was loved by his colleagues, artists, close friends, classmates he never lost contact with and the countless people he met while living a life many only dream of. Known as “Jeffrey Dog” by his loving family, “Dog” is survived by his brother, Stan Syman, and his sister-in-law, Lori Syman, as well as nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces.

The family would like to thank the exceptional oncology staff, nurses, and doctors—in particular, Dr. Jeffrey Allerton—at Bassett Hospital. Their skill and expertise were only exceeded by their compassion and empathy.

There will be a celebration of life for Jeff on July 15, 2023, in Garrattsville, New York.

2 thoughts on “In Memoriam Jeffrey Syman, 68 May 17, 1954 – February 11, 2023

  1. Frank Farmer

    I feel as though I live in a home where one of the walls suddenly disappeared. Jeff was part of the fabric of life in Cooperstown and in Key West. A wonderful, generous, talented, fun loving man.

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