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James SCHELL Obituary

Family-Placed Death Notice

SCHELL, James JAMES B. SCHELL Jim Schell, working artist, died Sunday, January 6, 2013, one month short of his 95th birthday. A native Atlantan, Jim was born February 14, 1918, one of seven children of Willie Mae Bell and William Edward Schell, whose roots went back three generations in Atlanta and five or more generations in the state of Georgia. Jim's first job in illustration was in the 1930's at the age of 12, when he had a paper route for the Hearst's Georgian American newspaper and was commissioned by the newspaper to do drawings for publication. When he was 14, he studied at Detroit Art Academy for a summer under muralist-painter Carlos Lopez, a distant relative. After graduating from Fulton High School, Jim worked in creative display at Davison Paxon on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, where it was his job to paint the huge panels over the elevators for holiday displays. Next, he did layout and illustration for the Atlanta Journal. It was during this period that he met and married Noemie Calais, his wife of 63 years. He was drafted by the army in late 1944 and shipped to the Pacific as a rifle replacement. When it was discovered he could draw, he was put in the Counter-Intelligence Section and was eventually transferred to occupied Japan as a staff artist for Pacific Stars and Stripes, drawing a daily cartoon under the byline, "Occupation Outbursts." When he returned to Atlanta, Jim co-founded Kirkland White and Schell Advertising, where he served as art director and received numerous national and regional awards for illustration and design. His work often appeared in the old Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Sunday Magazine" during the 1950s, when he would illustrate short stories and articles that appeared there. At age 64, after 32 years in commercial illustration, he sold his agency, which allowed him to pursue his first love, the fine art of portraiture. He studied for a short time with the gifted painters Roman and Constantine Chatov, and then did a series of portraits of Atlanta's "Entrepreneurs of the Year" for Business Atlanta magazine. Jim's commissions were in demand, and his paintings appeared in many exhibits and one-man shows and hang in homes and businesses throughout the country. He became an instructor at Abernathy Arts Center almost 30 years ago and only recently retired, in September. Jim's business card never read "artist", as he thought of himself as a painter and a teacher. His students meant the world to him. Among his many honors are "Art Directors Club Award for Design and Illustration," "Artist of the Year" by American Pen Women, "Artist of the Year" by Arts Sandy Springs, and "Member of Excellence," the Portrait Society of Atlanta's highest honor. Jim Schell was pre-deceased by his wife, Noemie Calais Schell, who died in 2003. They were long-time residents of the Mt. Vernon Woods community in Sandy Springs and were one of the founding families of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church when the mission moved from downtown. Seven years ago, Mt. Vernon Towers became Jim's new home. He made many friends there and entertained them with his dry wit. He is survived by his three daughters and sons-in-law, Judy and Jack Sells of Atlanta, Susan and Fred Tasse of Atlanta, Mimi and Lawrence Hays of Athens; grandchildren Ross Stevens and his wife, Denise, of Atlanta, James Stevens of Atlanta, Simeon Sells of Los Angeles, Ann Miller and husband, David, of Tampa, Heidi Reeves and husband Billy, of Missoula, Montana; great-grandchildren Ansley and Walker Stevens, and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, January 12, at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, 805 Mt. Vernon Highway, with a reception to follow in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Jim Schell Scholarship Fund, Atlanta Youth Academy, P.O. Box 18237, Atlanta, GA 30316, or to the .
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Jan. 10 to Jan. 11, 2013
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