William Stephen Pavlovsky Jr.April 10, 1954 ~ October 21, 2017 (age 63)
William Stephen Pavlovsky Jr. (“Bill”) 63, architect and historian, of Perth Amboy, NJ and Cambridge, MA, passed away suddenly on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at his home in Cambridge.
Born and raised in Perth Amboy, Bill was a graduate of Perth Amboy High School. He held a B.A. with Honors from the College of William & Mary, where he concentrated in Architectural History and his studies included special courses at Colonial Williamsburg. Bill also held a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where his coursework included advanced studies in historic preservation and restoration. He was a long-time member of the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge and as well as a member of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI.
Bill began his professional career with the renowned Cambridge-based firm, Benjamin Thompson and Associates. He later started his own Cambridge-based firm, William S. Pavlovsky, Architecture & Historic Preservation. For a time, Bill also served as a lecturer in Architectural History at the New England School of Art and Design, and was a Design Studio Critic at the Boston Architectural Center. Additionally, he collaborated on foreign embassy, bank and other prestigious projects with a number of other architects in the Boston area, including the Beacon Hill-based firm, James McNeely Architects.
In 1988-89, Bill researched and developed the conjectural drawings that were the basis for constructing a miniature replica model of the original design of the College of William and Mary’s Wren Building, the oldest still-existing college building in America. Bill worked on this project in consultation with renowned architectural historians, James D. Kornwulf and John F. Millar, and architect Nicholas A. Pappas. The model was first shown at William and Mary’s Muscarelle Museum, in Williamsburg, VA, as part of the exhibition, “So Good a Design.” Afterward, the model was placed on display at the Wren Building, where it continues to be on public view today. Over the years, Bill also was a contributing writer and editor for a number of publications on colonial American architecture.
Perth Amboy history was the great passion of Bill’s life and, since his youth, he made countless contributions to the research, preservation and promotion of Perth Amboy's history, with the vast majority of time he so devoted having been volunteered. He was a long-time member and trustee of, as well as preservation consultant for both the Proprietary House Association and the Kearny Cottage Historical Association. The popular "Old Perth Amboy Walking Guide,” now in its seventh edition, was authored and designed by Bill. During the 1970s, he conducted a number of archaeological digs of important historic sites in Perth Amboy, including that of the residence and gallery of early colonial artist, John Watson. A wide array of artifacts unearthed in those excavations continue to be exhibited to the public today, in addition to being the subject of historians’ research, lectures and documentaries.
Since the 1960s, Bill devoted inestimable time and effort to researching, preserving and restoring Perth Amboy’s Proprietary House, colonial New Jersey's royal governor's mansion. During the 1980s and 1990s, he headed The Restoration Partnership, which restored and rehabilitated Proprietary House, which is the only original, official colonial royal governor’s mansion still standing in America. Bill also designed and advised on the construction of the Bill of Rights Arch, erected in Perth Amboy’s City Hall Circle to commemorate the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights, first ratified in 1787 by the State of New Jersey in Perth Amboy, which then was the state’s capital. Since 1990, Bill served in various positions with the City of Perth Amboy, including City Historian, Chairman of the Perth Amboy Historic Preservation Commission and Chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Most recently, Bill led the restoration and conversion to use as the city’s history museum of the Surveyor General's Office in Perth Amboy. He also served as curator of the SGO museum, which first opened in May 2017. Many of the 18th century artifacts discovered during Bill’s archaeological digs of the 1970s are now on exhibit at the museum. During his William and Mary days, Bill’s rare passion for the past had been nurtured by the famed historical archaeologist of Colonial Williamsburg, Ivor Noel Hume, who became a mentor. Bill hoped that the exhibits and displays he organized for the new SGO museum would similarly inspire others. He often said, “If I can influence even one young person to love and appreciate history as much as I do, my efforts will not have been wasted.”
Bill led numerous other historic site restoration and other projects in Massachusetts, Ohio and New Jersey. His Massachusetts projects included several historic residences in the Boston suburbs of Arlington and Lexington. In Ohio, he designed new, high-end, Georgian-style residences for a number of prestigious clients, including the prominent Bolton family. Some of Bill’s New Jersey projects included Perth Amboy’s Kearny Cottage, Metuchen’s Old Franklin School and Old Bridge’s Thomas Warne Historical Museum.
Bill was a very talented artist and was particularly accomplished in pen-and-ink drawing and engraving. With history as a passion, he also was an avid collector of antiques, about which he attained an expert level of knowledge. Bill’s other favorite pastimes included visiting museums and art galleries, as well as frequent travel to Newport, RI, Marblehead, MA and other historic locations. He also loved his time travelling in Italy and France.
Bill is preceded in death by his beloved parents William S. Sr. and Helen A. (nee Andrako) Pavlovsky. Bill is survived by his wife of 28 years, Monika Z. Pauli. Bill also is survived by his sisters, Mary Ellen Pavlovsky and Andrea Gilhuley, and her husband Peter; his brother, Jon C. Pavlovsky; his uncle, Dr. John Andrako; his cherished niece, Catie Gilhuley; and numerous cousins and dear friends.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, November 6, 2017 at 10 am at the Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish at Holy Trinity Church. Interment will follow at St. Peter's Episcopal Church Cemetery. Visiting is on Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 3 to 7 pm at Gustav J. Novak Funeral Home, 419 Barclay Street, Perth Amboy. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill's memory can be made to the Proprietary House Association, 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy, NJ 08861.