Friday, August 11, 2006

An Artist Departs

Only three weeks after learning he had pancreatic cancer, Fred Sudermann passed away on Wednesday. My sister Emily is married to Fred's son, Michael.

Fred was distinguished in his service to Wichita State University, and he was co-founder of the National Institute for Aviation Research that is based at the school.

Fred's true loves were his family and friends, and his art. He and my sister were unusually close for a father-in-law and daughter-in-law separated by half a continent. I know she always treasured his love and support.

Fred's art was among the most innovative I have ever seen, with almost a MacGyver quality. He could take the most common items and assemble them into something beautiful and unusual. If you gave him a coat hanger and five minutes in your backyard, he would make a mobile you would want to display prominently in your home.

I feel for his family, as they have moved from diagnosis to funeral in such a short time. I am glad his art will remain with them, so they will be reminded of the light that shined so brightly in Fred.

You can read more about Fred in this Wichita Eagle article.


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