Zoltan Szabo, one of the leading watercolorists and art teachers in North America, whose life's journey began in Hungary, involved his dramatic flight from the communists, exile in Canada, a period of time spent in Arizona, and finally his choosing to live in Matthews, NC, died at home on Saturday.
A celebration of his life will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 3, 2003 at St. John's Baptist Church, 300 Hawthorne Lane with Dr. Richard Kremer and Rev. Blythe Taylor officiating. Family and friends will gather following the service.
He was born July 9, 1928 in Belapatfalva, Hungary to Alajos and Maria Nyvelt Szabo and is also predeceased by his brother Karl.
Surviving are his longtime artistic and business associates Willa McNeill and husband Jerry of Matthews; his daughter, Sheila Szabo and her daughters, Jennifer Leachman, Kristin, Samantha and Heather Miziolek all of Guelph, Ontario; his sons, Stephen Szabo and wife Susan and their daughter, Kira of Kailua, Hawaii and Peter Szabo and wife Irene and their son Taylor of Guelph, Ontario; his step-daughter, Carri Pandolfe and husband David and their daughter, Samantha of Midlothian, VA; his brother, Stephen Szabo, Jr. and wife Mary Clare of Toronto, Canada.
Gratitude is expressed to Hospice Presbyterian Home Care for making it possible for Zoltan to spend his last days where he wanted to be, his Matthews home surrounded by trees, birds, flowering scrubs and squirrels. Special thanks go to Nancy Moose, Mary Camp, Debbie Brindley and Dr. William Burgess.
An artist, author and educator, Szabo is best known for his watercolors. Through his seminars he has influenced thousands of artists in North America, Europe, including Russia, Japan and Saudi Arabia. He was an author of 10 popular books on watercolor painting, 6 published by Watson-Guptill Publications, New York and 4 by North Light Books, Cincinnati, OH. He also produced watercolor videotapes some of which were presented on local access television in Charlotte.
His work hangs in collections including the Smithsonian Institute, the Hawaii State Art Foundation, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Art Gallery of Algoma, Canada, the Hungarian National Art Gallery Archives Collection and the collections of Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica and of the Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Minister of International Trade. Private collectors around the world own more than 8000 of his watercolors. He has credits for more than 30 major exhibits.
One of the happiest days of Zoltan's life was when attained his American citizenship in 1995 in Charlotte surrounded by many members of his Sunday School class at St. John's Baptist Church where he was an active member.
Sandi Lay, who worked with Zoltan and Willa McNeill said that participants on Szabo's workshops have written that they have learned more with him in one day than they had learned in all the years they had taken art from other teachers. Writer Theo Sand in a profile in Spirit Square Magazine said "Zoltan reminds us that life is most precious because we are mortal."
Please make memorial gifts to St. John's Baptist Church Building Fund, 300 Hawthorne Ln. Charlotte, NC 28204. Florists please begin deliveries directly to the church beginning at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Gaskin Services in Matthews.
Published by Charlotte Observer on Jun. 2, 2003.