John E. Cram, local entrepreneur and philanthropist, dies

Press release from Neal Reed:

John E. Cram, gardener, entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist, passed away peacefully in the company of his family on October 26, 2020, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

A native of Wisconsin, John moved to Asheville in 1971 and opened New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village. Over the years he expanded his businesses with Bellagio Art to Wear, Blue Spiral 1, the Fine Arts Theatre, and Bellagio Everyday.

John was passionate about the Arts and was a mentor to many artists, employees, and businesses alike. He created the Village Art & Craft Fair in 1972, which has brought thousands of artists from all over the country to Asheville for 48 years. He was a driving force in the revitalization of Asheville, serving on many boards and committees while encouraging re-investment in the city.

With his deep love of nature, John’s true passion was gardening. He felt his greatest accomplishments were the successes he had in helping preserve public lands for future generations.

Among the many accolades for his public work, John received the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor, in 2014. He was most recently awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in January. In 2019 the Center for Craft honored John with a named gallery.

A memorial and celebration of John’s life will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, the family encourages you to visit a gallery or take a hike in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina that he worked so hard to preserve. In lieu of flowers, plant a tree or a special plant in your garden. Donations to your favorite arts or conservation organization would make John very happy.

On behalf of the family,
Neal Reed
Director of Operations
New Morning Ltd.

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2 thoughts on “John E. Cram, local entrepreneur and philanthropist, dies

  1. Susan Coleman Fedor

    The bells tolls for all of us. What a gift he was! The beauty he gave. Muse to many.

  2. Chas Fitzgerald

    Thanks to John Cram for all he did to revitalize Asheville and protect our mountains.

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