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Carl F. Zahn

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Carl F. Zahn Obituary
Zahn, Carl F.
March 9, 1928 - Feb. 27, 2012

Carl Zahn was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. As a senior at Male High School, a supportive teacher encouraged him to apply to Harvard University. He received the Pierce Butler Atwood Scholarship, which afforded him the opportunity to attend a college that was far from home. He was accepted to Harvard in 1945 and graduated in 1949 with an A.B.
He met his first wife and mother of his three children through their mutual participation in the Harvard Glee Club. After they both graduated from Harvard and Radcliffe, they married and settled into an apartment in New York City. He then began work at the advertising agency of Benton & Bowles and attended night classes at Cooper Union to hone his art and design skills.
In 1956, he was offered a position at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as a designer of exhibits and the related publications. Eventually he became the Director of Publications for the Museum and remained in this post until 1997. During this very busy time, he somehow managed to design books and logos on a freelance basis, as well as teach at the Museum School in Boston. His work at the MFA included book designs of some of the world's most notable artists, such as Andrew Wyeth, Yousuf Karsh and Hermann Zapf. Their trust in his ability to document and showcase their work with a superior sensitivity to design, printing and typography earned him a reputation as an artists' artist.
After retiring from the MFA, he and his second wife decided to leave the cold winters of Boston and divide their time between his home in Boston and a new home in Sarasota. But, he could never retire the creative forces, and after the death of his wife, he founded Museum Publishing Partners with long-time friend and associate, Cynthia Purvis.
In addition to being a talented visual artist, Carl Zahn was a talented vocalist. His singing began at age 11 in the church choir and he continued to sing in churches throughout his college career. During the 1970's and early '80s, he joined the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Chorus Pro Musica, and after moving to Sarasota, he joined the Gloria Musicae.
He was a lover of all forms of art and frequented many art shows, including student exhibitions at the Ringling College of Art and Design and the Boston Museum School. Not only was he a lover of the arts, he was also an avid sportsman and sports fan. He was an exceptional tennis player until his mid-70's, when his knees told him it was time to take up golf. Like most golfers, he found the game forever frustrating but loved it all the same. He was even lucky enough to make a hole-in-one on Feb. 9, 1999, while playing with his son-in-law at Sarasota Golf Club.
When sports was no longer physically possible, and concerts and plays too difficult to attend, he spent more time with another pleasure, which was reading and discussing the various books and articles with friends and family.
Carl is survived by his three children and their spouses: Lisa Zahn and her husband, Carl Soeder of Beverly, Mass., Karen LeMonte and her husband, Craig of Sarasota, Fla., Richard Zahn and his wife, Kelly of Wellesley, Mass. and two grandchildren, Mason and Karsten Zahn. He loved his work, his family and friends and simply life itself. A memorial service will be held in Boston in early May.
Memorial donations may be made to Tidewell Hospice.

Published in Herald Tribune from Mar. 2 to Mar. 3, 2012
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