Angelo Charles Garzio

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  • "I worked at AAA Travel in Manhattan and helped Mr. Garzio..."
    - ann memmer
  • ""Garzio", as my father called him, was a family friend..."
    - Barbara Johnson
  • "I was a student of Ange in the early 60s and pursued a..."
    - Doris Woodruff-Filbey
  • "Rest Angelo, Until you hear at dawn, the low, clear..."
    - Harry Simpson
  • "I was a student of Ange in the 60s. I have fond memories of..."
    - Jane Sherer Hibbs
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PhotoAngelo Charles Garzio, master potter and KSU Distinguished Graduate Professor of Art, died Sunday, January 20 at the Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community. A resident of Manhattan for more than 50 years, he was 85. Prof. Garzio was born July 22, 1922 in the small Italian village of Mirabello Sannitico in the Molise region. In what was a familiar story in those days, his father immigrated to this country first, working in Syracuse, NY as a bricklayer and stonemason until the rest of the family could afford to join him. Ange and his mother Rose joined his father in this country in 1929. Raised as an only child (his brother, Giovanni, died in Italy as a toddler of influenza), Ange was educated in the Syracuse public school system. In October 1939, he enlisted in the New York National Guard; in 1942, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force, flying in B-26 bombers in the war in the Pacific, and was honorably discharged in 1945. In one of his proudest moments, he became a U.S. citizen in 1956. While most in the community knew Prof. Garzio as an artist and craftsman, fewer may have known that his early training was as a librarian and a musician. Using the GI Bill, he earned two degrees from Syracuse University in 1949: a BS in Library Science and BA in Music, Art, and Literature. Prof. Garzio played French horn professionally with the Syracuse and Utica, NY symphonies and the Bridgeport, CT Symphony. His first trip back to his country of birth came in 1950, when he studied Art History at the University of Florence, Italy, receiving the Diploma di Proffito. He studied one year at the University of Chicago, majoring in Art History. He transferred to the University of Iowa to continue in Art History where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1954. It was while he was at the University of Iowa that Prof. Garzio took a course in ceramics from Prof. Glen Nelson. At that time, Nelson was one of the leaders in reviving pottery as an art form in America. Prof. Garzio fell in love with pottery, and at the end of the semester took first prize in the Iowa Arts and Crafts Show. In 1955, he completed his MFA in ceramics at the University of Iowa, the terminal degree in his field. Before coming to Kansas State University in 1957, he was a Guest Potter at the famous Arabia Potteries in Helsinki, Finland in 1956-57, marking the beginning of his international reputation as a Master Potter. Prof. Garzio was awarded four Fulbright Senior Lectureships during his career: Lahore, Pakistan (1961-62); Seoul, South Korea (1973-74); Zaria, Nigeria (1977-78); and Obera, Argentina (1992). At the age of 70, Prof. Garzio was a U.S. State Department Cultural Arts Visiting Ceramic Lecturer to Santa Cruz and Sucre, Bolivia. When Prof. Garzio arrived at Kansas State in 1957 as an Assistant Professor, ceramics was taught in the College of Home Economics, though pottery eventually was integrated with the other arts to form the Department of Art in the College of Arts and Sciences. He became Associate Professor in 1962 and Full Professor in 1966. In 1972, he became the first humanist to receive the university's Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. He has been listed in Who's Who in American Art since 1986. His pottery has been exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally. Further, and unusual for a practicing artist, Prof. Garzio published extensively in journals such as Ceramics Monthly, the New Zealand Potter, and Ceramica. Ange demonstrated his zest for life in many ways. Though Italian by birth and raised in an east coast city, the stark beauty of the Flint Hills resonated deeply within him, and he spent long hours on his farm near Riley. Every year, he would plant hundreds of trees there, watering them by hand; tree farming and land preservation became his passions, and he was honored for his commitment and work in this area. One often could find Ange out at the farm working on the land, aided by a strong-backed K-State student trying to keep up with this man four times their age. Ange had a passion for teaching and for him teaching and learning neither began nor ended in the classroom. While his daughter remembers him decrying the woeful state of students every year for the last 20 years that he taught, he remained in the KSU classroom until the age of 70, and was a fixture in his studio in the old West Stadium on campus up until his stroke in August 2007. He maintained close relationships with many of his former students through the years, and would speak of them with great pride and fondness. Ange regularly and quietly supported many organizations in the Manhattan area. He was a familiar face at the Manhattan Public Library, to which he donated many texts on the art of ceramics, and in which he found the kinship of books. He was a longtime supporter of the Big Lakes Developmental Center, where his son, Eric, is a client, and the Big Lakes Foundation. He sponsored a number of scholarships at Kansas State in several disciplines. Ange donated pots to many organizations in the community for fund-raising events throughout the years. Ange is survived by his former wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Garzio, Manhattan; his son, Eric Garzio, Manhattan, daughter, Judith Nole, and her two children, Will and Ellen Nole, all of Tulsa, OK, along with her partner, Trinna Burrows and her daughters Elyse and Jordan Burrows of Tulsa, Meagen Burrows of Seattle, WA, and Danielle Hovenga and her husband and daughter Ryan and Aubrey Hovenga of Oolagah, OK. He also is survived by his former wife, Patricia O'Brien, Manhattan, and by numerous family members in Italy. A private family gathering will be held this weekend, with a community remembrance to be held Saturday, March 1st at 2pm in All Faiths Chapel on the Kansas State University campus. Those wishing to make gifts in Prof. Garzio's memory may contribute to the Angelo C. Garzio Fund for Studio Pottery with the Kansas State University Foundation, or the organization of their choosing. Angelo Garzio
Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Jan. 25, 2008