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William Kortlander
(February 9, 1925 - April 29, 2014)

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U.S. Veteran

Dr. William Clark Kortlander, age 89, passed away at his Athens home on the morning of April 29th, 2014 after spending a special few weeks with his children and grandchildren. His caregivers, Sheila, Rhonda, Tabitha and Carrie shared in this special time.

The son of Claude Emperor and Daisy Clark Kortlander, he was born February 9th, 1925 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and educated in the public schools there, until the family moved to Bay City in l936, where he graduated from Bay City Central High School in l943.

He then served In WWII. He studied mechanical engineering in the Army Specialized Training Program before joining the 104th Infantry Division (Timberwolves), which was an infantry unit with a focus on nighttime combat operations. The division saw almost 200 days of fighting on the front line in Northwestern Europe as it fought its way across Holland, Belgium and Western Germany. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge, and his unit received two Presidential Unit Citations for actions in which he participated.

After the war he attended Michigan State University. He graduated in 1949 and pursued a career in commercial art in Dallas, Texas prior to enrolling at the University of Iowa to study art history. He served as a research assistant to noted art historian Dr. William Hecksher while earning his MA and PHD in the field. He taught at Lawrence University from 1954 to 1956 and at the University of Texas in Austin from 1956 to 1961. In 1961 He accepted an appointment at Ohio University where his interests shifted from art history to studio art. He first received national attention when he received the Mead Painting of the Year Award in the 1965 Art Across America Exhibition. He had more than thirty solo shows and participated in over one hundred forty-five group exhibitions. His New York solo shows were given positive critical reviews, including those by The New York Times critics John Canaday and Hilton Kramer. His paintings are included in over forty museums and corporate collections throughout the United States and abroad. His works have been reproduced or commented on in numerous books, periodicals and catalogues and he is listed in various art reference books, including Who’s Who in American Art, Marquis Who’s who, and A Dictionary of Contemporary Art. He is the Author of Painting With Acrylics, which, when published in 1973, was critically acclaimed as a major work in the field. He retired Professor Emeritus from Ohio University in 1995. He was active as an artist throughout his life and will have works included in the upcoming Athens on Paper exhibition at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio.

He was preceded in death by his parents, by his wife Elizabeth Fisher Kortlander of Athens, his sister Jean Pilditch of Bay City Michigan, and Nephew Dr. Kort Pilditch of Fenton, Michigan.

He is survived by children, Elizabeth Kortlander (Bruce Harvey) and John Kortlander (Julie Taggart) and his grandchildren, Aaron and Jason Harvey and Michael and Max Kortlander, niece Ellen Smith and nephew Kim Pilditch.

A Celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to The Nature Conservancy. Please share a memory, a note of condolence or sign the online register book at www.jagersfuneralhome.com.

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