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The Aerospace Artist

He worked as an aerospace engineer for 48 years. He is one of the toughest people, mentally and physically, that Freedom Day Solutions has ever had the privilege to serve. He spent a lifetime working around the hardest edges with extreme pressure. After earning his Freedom Day, he rediscovered a soft side (that brought us to tears), waiting for more time to devote.

Time to Rediscover a Lost Passion

Soon after getting married in 1956, they were out shopping one day. She found a painting she wanted to buy and told him, “That would make me happy to look at.” Both inspired and motivated by a budget-friendly solution, he answered, “Well...I could probably do that just as well.” His only background in art was winning a drawing contest in first grade, of a farmer getting vegetables. The prize was art class. He rode his bike with great anticipation and arrived right on time. But, the teacher never showed up. That was his only art class. It was not until three decades later that he picked up a brush and tried a sunset to relieve stress, and to see if he could paint something that would make her happy to look at. He did. Today, a converted patio is his art studio and he pours hours every day into amazing paintings of all sizes.

He dates each one to see if he is getting better. He humbly shares, “A true artist does not do that.” But, an 88-year old former engineer who still wants to measure his improvement sure does.

Multiplying His Purpose He sends notes of gratitude on tiny, beautifully-painted notecards, like this one, to celebrate our anniversary working on his plan together, which began in 2003. He makes larger paintings to bring as gifts to many, many others. “We used to bring flowers or candy to people we’d visit in hospitals, but they’d die or get eaten,” he says. “So, one day I brought a painting I’d done. It’s fun to bring something to somebody in the hospital; if it is a good or bad painting it doesn’t make a difference.”

Lifelong volunteers, he and his relentlessly grinning wife had an idea to help the caregivers of dementia patients. They made a place for the patients to gather on Saturdays to give the caregivers their only break all week from intense service. Knowing art can be a memory-stimulating activity, he began tracing images and teaching the patients how to paint them. Dozens of them contribute at different times to the same painting. Here is one on a 36x36 canvas, signed on the back by a long list of amateur artists he taught.

Hard not to get choked up thinking about how many other grins might have been unlocked here!

We love this Aerospace Artist the most for his immeasurable successes.


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