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William E. Pajaud

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August 3, 1925 - June 16, 2015 On August 3, 1925, William Etienne Pajaud was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the union of Audrey DuCongé and William Pajaud, Sr. At an early age, he found his artistic ability after being hospitalized for a bone infection and learned to draw from his hospital roommate, who was a cartoonist. He made him promise to draw every day. It is a promise that Bill kept throughout his entire life. Bill graduated from Xavier University in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. Upon graduation, Bill moved to Chicago and worked as a sign artist and freelance designer. In 1949, he relocated to Los Angeles and was the first black student admitted to Chouinard (now CalArts) where he earned a degree in advertising and design. In 1957, Bill began his career at Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company as the art director. During his tenure, he used his influence to establish one of the largest corporate-owned black art collections in the nation. Being an artist himself, he leveraged his relationships to compile the collection on a very limited budget. In 1987, Bill retired as the vice president of public relations and advertising. After his artwork, Bill loved saltwater fishing, reading, gourmet cooking, gardening, and music. He had a wry sense of humor, undoubtedly known to most who knew him. But most of all, he loved his family. His sons, Joseph, Ernest, and William III preceded him in death. He will be missed by his wife of 19 years, June; his two daughters, Gayle (Will), and Anne, and also, through the blended family, his two sons, Bobby and Chris; his grandchildren are Erin, Maya, Lani, Leila, Damon, Marc, Katrina, and Chrishaejra, and also several great-grandchildren. Bill will also be missed by other members of the art world who have expressed many good wishes to the family.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on June 21, 2015
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