Robert L. Bornhuetter
1935 - 2020
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Robert L. Bornhuetter

Died: November 20, 2020; DeKalb

Robert L. Bornhuetter, 85, of DeKalb, Illinois, died Friday, November 20, 2020, at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb. His family will miss him deeply.

Robert was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1935, received his Bachelor of Science degree with Senior Honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1957. During the required period of military activity, he applied for graduate admission and assistantship funding at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and was admitted and awarded a graduate assistantship within the Department of Art for a 2- year period. He completed the Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking program with graduation in 1960.

He taught serigraphy, art history and remedial English and was the curator of the Art History Slide Collection at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland from 1960 to 1961. He then received an appointment in 1961 as Head of the Department of Art at Nazareth College of Kentucky in Bardstown where he developed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program which received accreditation in 1962. During his tenure at Nazareth College of Kentucky, he taught courses in art history, printmaking, drawing, crafts, ceramics, sculpture, design, and painting. Varied additional teaching experience was gained at Spalding College and Bellarmine College in Louisville, Kentucky from 1963 to 1969. He joined the faculty of the School of Art at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1969 and further developed his skills in all aspects of printmaking (with special emphasis in lithography), graduate seminars, all levels of drawing (basic, life, intermediate, advanced, and graduate), and beginning courses in illustration.

As a Full Professor of Art, Bornhuetter was the Director of the Graduate Programs in Art in the School of Art at Northern Illinois University from 1974 to 1977, Chair of the Fine Arts Studio Division from 1978 to 1988, and again directed the Graduate Programs in Art from 1992 to 1996 while instructing courses in lithography, intaglio and graduate seminars. He was also active in off-campus (Outreach) course instruction in the Illinois communities of Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Villa Park, Glen Ellyn, and Statesville Prison in Joliet. He retired from university teaching in July, 1996.

He has had numerous national, regional, and local invitational and competitive exhibitions with some international exhibition exposure. He has served as a juror for an impressive amount of competitive exhibitions including one in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Invitations have been and continue to be extended to him to create and publish editions of his personal artistry by Grafica Uno of Milan, Italy and Ymagos, Atelier de Arte, Ltda. of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

He is survived by his three children he loved dearly, Julia Bornhuetter Cyrier (Dave Ubell), Laura Gordon (Tom) and Ron Bornhuetter; seven grandchildren that lit up his life, Johnathan Cyrier, Brittany Gordon Heiden, Tyler Gordon, Kristin Colloton, Jake Gordon, Natale Swinbank and Sydni Bornhuetter and his former spouse and mother of his children, Joy Winters.

A private family service will be held and a celebration of life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Robert L. Bornhuetter Memorial Fund, addressed to the Bornhuetter Family in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 South Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115.

For information, visit or call 815-756-1022.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The MidWeek News on Nov. 21, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
November 24, 2020
Sympathy Gift courtesy of Tracy Cacciotti. Group of 10 Memorial Trees Planted In Loving Memory of ROBERT L. BORNHUETTER.
Tracy Cacciotti
November 22, 2020
Robert was a major influence on students in the School of Art during my time in the MFA program there in the mid-70's. He had an easy sense of humor and could often be found deep into a round of chess with his good friend David Driesbach. Best wishes to his family.
Mike Flanagan
November 22, 2020
I knew Bob mainly through Cardio Rehab. He alway made workout sessions more fun, and kept my husband happy by speaking Portuguese. He was fun—loved hearing his stories.
We also enjoyed his cards, with all the wonderful stickers. We’ll all miss him.
Linda Kerr
November 22, 2020
So sorry to hear about the passing of Bob. He was quite an interesting man and did some very cool art. My late father & Bob were good friends for quite a few years and could just sit and talk for hours.
All the best to his family during this painful time.
Melanie Deck
November 21, 2020
I owe a lot to Robert Bornhuetter. I never had him as a professor, but he thought enough of my work and work ethic as an MA grad student at NIU to mentor me via offer of a fellowship to complete my MFA in 1992. I found him to be easy-going and upbeat. He encouraged "going for it" and respected my and others' incorporation of local/natural influences.
I thank him for enriching me and our community with his wisdom and good work. I happily enjoy seeing his work in many local venues and know many of his mentees who echo these sentiments. Thanks, Bob!
Julie Kolze Sorensen
November 20, 2020
I am so very sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you Ron and family.
Heather Roozee
November 20, 2020
My heart is broken...I just couldn't believe it when my dearest buddy, Brenda sent me Bob's obituary. He and I stayed in touch through the years and I always looked forward to the many cards he sent me. He was the kindest man and I send my deepest sympathy to his beloved family. I love you, Bob and I sure will miss my Christmas card this year. Rest in peace my dear friend...
Janeen Craker
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