Stamps School professor emeritus Wendel W. Heers, noted artist and sculptor, passed away on August 2, 2015.
An active member of the Stamps School faculty from 1961 to 1987 and interim dean from June 1984 through December 1985, Wendel left a lasting impact as a beloved teacher, colleague and leader, and as a passionate artist who continued to make and exhibit work long after his retirement.
Born in Blue Earth, Minnesota in 1924, Wendel spent most of his early years on the family farm in Owatonna, Minnesota. After enlisting in World War II as a teenager, he endured capture by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, escaped from POW camp and received the Purple Heart. Wendel earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota, and was a student of Oskar Kokoschka at the School of Vision in Salzburg, Austria.
Wendel completed public art commissions and exhibited nationally and internationally, with work that includes large scale stone meditation gardens and commemorative stone and rock sculpture installations. In his own words, “Humor and playfulness are at times evident in my work. Building relationships and the association of materials and ideas, plus the movability and changeability of the sculpture, adds to the expressive potential of each piece.” His latest works took the form of large-scale outdoor sculptures, and he hosted periodic sculpture walks at his Ann Arbor home to bring his works into the public arena.
A memorial service to celebrate his long and rich life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1432 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor on August 22 at 11:00 am.
Wendel requested that an endowed scholarship fund be set up at the Stamps School in his name. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Wendel W. Heers Scholarship Fund.
Wendel was a passionate art teacher and mentor and further is survived by scores of loving students and colleagues of all ages who continually enriched his life and love of art.