KALAMAZOO—Dr. Gordon J. Grinwis, who served as a Western Michigan University art professor for 34 years, died Thursday, March 28, in Kalamazoo. He was 81.
Grinwis, a gifted painter and sculptor as well as a talented teacher, joined the WMU faculty on Sept. 1, 1961, retiring as emeritus associate professor of art, effective April 23, 1995.
Dr. Gordon J. Grinwis
Grinwis was born in 1931 in Grandville, Mich., and served in the U.S. Army before earning a bachelor's degree at WMU in 1959 and master's degree at Michigan State University in 1964.
During his long tenure at WMU, Grinwis primarily taught design, advanced design and watercolor. In 1980, he traveled to South Korea, where he was an exchange professor at Chung-Ang University. Throughout his time at WMU, his oil and watercolor creations were often featured in private art shows in the Kalamazoo area and across the region. His sculpture also was displayed at the Detroit Institute of Art.
He was curator of the American Folk Art Show at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and was a longtime collector of folk art, with many pieces from his own collection displayed at the KIA.
In 1978, he was awarded the Flame of Life medal from the Kalamazoo County Safety Council for rescuing a 6-year-old neighbor boy from his burning house.
A service was held Tuesday, April 2. Memorial donations may be directed to Ministry with Community or Rose Arbor Hospice.