May 1, 2008

John Berkey, 1932-2008

By Dave Machacek

John Berkey

A great friend and artist, Mr. John C. Berkey, passed away this Tuesday. Our thoughts are with Demi, Brian, John, and Kevin in this hard time. We will always remember John’s quiet ways, his sense of humor, and the magnificent art he produced during his lifetime. Thanks, John, we will miss you very much.

Here is a story by the StarTribune about Berkey’s passing. And, here is an online gallery of a few of John’s works. Click here to see John’s “Images of Paintings“, an experimental film. John’s obituary follows: Berkey, John C. age 75 of Excelsior passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side on April 29 2008. John Berkey was born in Edgeley North Dakota and grew up and lived in Excelsior Minnesota. After briefly attending the Minneapolis School of Art and taking various art studio jobs, Berkey became a staff artist at the Brown & Bigelow calendar company for eight years and began his career as a freelance illustrator in 1964. Berkey is well known for his science fiction illustrations including several for the movie ‘Star Wars’. Renowned for his robust and impressionistic style, he has created paintings for book covers, movie posters, advertisements, and his paintings have appeared on 16 U.S. postage stamps. In 2004, Berkey was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, which includes artists Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Frederick Remington and John James Audubon. Berkey’s style inspired many artists during his lifelong career as an illustrator. Preceded in death by his daughter Sharon Grafius and his parents I. C. and Harriet Berkey. Survived by his loving wife, Damaris (Demi) Berkey; children, Brian Berkey, Kevin Berkey, John J. (Nicolet) Berkey; son-in-law, Guy Grafius; grandchildren, John E., Hugo, Annabel, George and Peter Berkey, Connor and Ava Grafius; sister, Janice Knapp. Memorial service 2 PM Friday May 16, 2008 at the Congregational Church of Excelsior, 471 3rd Street, Excelsior, MN with visitation one hour prior to service. Memorials preferred to: The Society of Illustrators Scholarship Fund, Attn: Anelle Miller, 128 E 63rd Street, NYC, NY 10065. Huber Funeral & Cremation Services The Excelsior Chapel 952-474-9595

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