Zoltan Szabo
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.
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48 Entries
Such a beautiful painter, encourager, teacher. GOne too soon.
May 31, 2017
I am writing in Zoltan Szabo's guest book because I am one of the multitude of people that he will continue to touch with his art even though his allotted time here on earth has passed. He will live forever in the hearts and minds of the world through the beauty and teachings he left us. I thank him for his gifts and appreciate the opportunity to learn from his legacy.
Jana Ward
February 16, 2004
We will never forget the wonderful times in Scotland. Zoltan was such a maestro of watercolour and we learned so much from him. His memory will live on in our hearts and in his books and videos. He will continue to be an inspiration to generations of budding young artists. May he rest in peace.
Gill and Steve Dyer
February 13, 2004
February 12, 2004
February 12, 2004
I studied your books and watched your tapes for years. I shall always be grateful that I finally had the opportunity to take a workshop with you in Ancaster, Ontario. You will not be forgotten.
Georgina Jones
February 12, 2004
I learned to paint with my heart from you. You taught us well & with love. We will all think of you whenever we see something beautiful, especially an Orange Lake Sunset & Light & Shadow on the snow . God Speed from your friends & students in Vermont. You will never be forgotten. Kay Webb
Kay Webb
February 9, 2004
Zoltan has left many friends all over the world but he will be in our memories forever.

My wife and I will never forget his North Carolina workshop with Willa.

May he rest in peace.
Rui Antunes
February 5, 2004
Zoltan will be missed by me he was my mentor as an artist teacher and my countryman it was a grate pleasure and a privilege knowing Zoltan taking lessens from him and having his voluble Watercolor Books and taps of teaching.
Gyula Varga.
Gyula Varga
February 1, 2004
I have written in this book before. It is now over 6 months since Zoltan left us, and now I feel the sadness more. I knew him first through his books for many years and then finally had some times with him and with Willa.

I have seen Willa since ZOltan's death, and, to my surprise, I cried at leaving her...not just for Zoltan's sake but for her own as well. When I finally studied with Zoltan, he was so effortlessly good, that I stopped painting for about three years, realizing I could never BE ZOltan with a paintbrush.

About a month after his death, I saw a beautiful scene and could not get my camera ready. It was written on my heart, and when I sat down three days later to paint it, Zoltan's teaching was there to help.

May GOd hold him and all of us in the palm of his hand.
Mary Bach-Loreaux
January 31, 2004
I have Zoltan's books and videos, although I was unable to attend a workshop. He made quite an impact on the way I paint, and he will continue to make that kind of impression for many generations.
David Wood
January 30, 2004
Thank you for writing to us. We are sending you our condolances and we know his memory lives on.

Pierre and Anita Casey
Pierre Casey
August 31, 2003
It was a great pleasure to have worked with Zoltan Szabo in a workshop in Portsmouth, Va.
Our deepest sympathy to his family and to Willa McNeill who worked with him.
Mary Earnhardt
August 15, 2003
A fond farewell to one of my first teachers of watercolor so many years ago. He lives on in the flow of my brush and in my heart. Condolances to his family. He is well loved always.
Loreena Lee
August 10, 2003
Zoltan, thank you for your colorful life and all the beautiful color you left behind for us to enjoy. I attended several workshops, and have several of your wonderful books, which I refer to very often, especially your personally autographed book, "Painting Little Landscapes".
Teach 'em well up there!
Anita McIntosh
July 26, 2003
A teacher, in the TRUEST sense of the word, who was not afraid to share his approaches and experience, and who has left a wonderful legacy through his words, deeds and publications.
Leslie Dorofi
June 25, 2003
Zoltan was one of a kind. The world is a little older and and little colder at his passing.
The world of Art has lost a great talent, and a great man who taught hundreds of thousands the joy of watercolor.
My condolences to his family and friends.
Tom Hohn
June 15, 2003
Dear friends of my Dad's;

Thank you for all the kind words and expressions of love you have sent. I will try to thank all of you personally, but for those without e-mail addresses, this is my only way. I will miss my dad's presence in my life always, but thank God and him for the brightness and love he has brought to my life and to the world. He will forever remain close in my heart and in my memories, as will his best friend, Willa. Thank you all. His little Sheila
Sheila Szabo
June 11, 2003
Dear Family and Friends of Zoltan,
I came to know Zoltan as a client, I was a travel agent and worked in Pineville NC, more than 15 years ago. He was a delightful man to deal with and also remained in my thoughts even after I left the world of travel.I have had many times to remember him, everytime I see a watecolor I think of him and the pure joy he brought to the world, not with just his paintings but by being himself....a watercolor of life. I shall remember him! Linda
Linda Youngman
June 11, 2003
My condolences to the Szabo Family and Zoltan's many friends. I feel very privileged to have been part of Mr. Szabo's workshop in Burlington, ON in 2000 and I will treasure the watercolour book he signed for me at that time.
Doug Mays
June 10, 2003
I have many fond memories of Zoltan when he taught for Steve & myself with Trillium Workshops. We spent many years travelling together to U.S. and Canada. He inspired many people including myself & his books & paintings will continue to inspire a new generation of painters. He will be missed.
Sharon Card
June 10, 2003
I was looking forward to spending another week in Bobcaygeon watching your magical demonstrations unfold before my eyes. I will fondly look back on those weeks. Your exceptional teaching ability will be missed, but fortunately your talents and memory will live on through your books and paintings.
Bob McKay
June 9, 2003
I was extemly lucky to have been able to have 3 workshops with Zoltan and Willa. He has inspired me in my journey of watercolour painting, Zoltan's teaching and critiques are most treasured.
Gord Gibson
June 9, 2003
Sincere condolences in the loss of a wonderful artist and art friend to thousands.

Sherry Pringle
Sherry Pringle
June 9, 2003
there are/were watercolourpainters
and then there was Zoltan Szabo.
Thank you for the lessons,books and
beautiful memories. We in the art world, will miss you...John
john smeulders
June 6, 2003
The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour was very pleased to have had you as an Honorary Member and mourns your passing.
Shirley Barrie
June 6, 2003
It is with a heavy heart that I learned the news of your passing. While deeply saddened, I can't help but feel blessed for the time that I was able to spend with you. As a painter, teacher and friend your generosity is unparalleled and your spirit will live on in the legion of artists you have inspired.

Tim Packer
President, Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour
Tim Packer
June 6, 2003
We shall miss you greatly, especially my sister Judit in Budapest - happy memories from childhood and your visits to Hungary. Edmond and Julia.
Edmond Vlaszaty
June 6, 2003
Dear Zoltan:
Klaus and I treasured your friendship. Thank you for changing my life all those years ago.
I will never forget you and neither will the thousands of people whose life you've touched with your wonderful talent and personality.
Brigitte Schreyer
June 5, 2003
It was exciting to take a workshop with Zoltan Szabo at the LAG studio in Lakeland,FL. I had admired his paintings and had some of his books in my art library. It is a pleasant memory. I also enjoyed meeting Willa.
Marylou Hartweg
June 5, 2003
Zolton will be missed by all but never forgotten.
June 5, 2003
I truly enjoyed the workshops, and learned more about watercolour painting from you than from anyone else. You were a master, and will be greatly missed, Sheila
Sheila Percival
June 5, 2003
I will never forget this man who taught me alot about art, humility, & kindness to others. Sincerely Greta Hamm
Greta Hamm
June 5, 2003
Dear Zoltan,
Your friendship will always be cherished by Mardell and I and by all of our children and grandchildren to whom you became a special family member. Your teachings will carry on in the works of all you taught in our family and with whom you shared so much from your heart --- where all great artists draw their gifts!

With much love from us all --- Jeff, Don, Greg, Cheri, Dan, Mardy, Ed, Betsy, Tom, Deb and all of the grandchildren. May God hold you always near His Heart!
Ed Danowski
June 5, 2003
May God bless you and hold you close to his heart. May Jesus grant you his infinite Mercy. And may you always paint on our hearts, the continous wonder in loving the Creator's infinite beauty in the world around us. I will miss you dearly. Paint me a rainbow.
Greg Danowski
June 5, 2003
Zolton, the friendly, grandfatherly figure; the gentle critique; the master; who encouraged us to expand our narrow horizons. You will be greatly missed in the art world. Our weeks in Bobcaygeon were great.
Rich Cavers
June 5, 2003
You were such a special teacher and inspiration. I was so blessed to have many workshops with you. My style of painting is a direct influence from those classes. Thanks for the blessing.
Betty Denton
June 5, 2003
Mon cher Zoltan c'est à ton tours de te laissé parler d'amour...... Oh how you loved it when we french girls sang this to you. You have inflenced a whole generation of painters. And we did have some good laughs in Hull and Highwater, Quebec.
Pierrette Dulude-Bohay
June 5, 2003
Fran Williams
June 5, 2003
My Dear Friend Zoltan
You will be missed by Joe and I, however your presence will remain in my every brush stroke. Marilyn
Marilyn Mercer
June 5, 2003
Zoltan, you were the first watercolourist to inspire me to try new techniques and provide me with the tools to achieve success. Thank you.
Rest in peace.
Cheryl Lindberg
June 4, 2003
A dear friend.
Amanda Smith
June 3, 2003
Zoltan, it is with a great deal of sadness that I realize we will never have the privilege of spending time with you again. I consider myself fortunate to have had the week in Bobcaygeon for the last few years and we'll all miss you a great deal.
God speed.
Joan Hatten
June 3, 2003
Zoltan, we expected to be painting with you in Bobcaygeon at this time. You will always be remembered as a wonderful person and teacher, and we'll all miss you very much. You will live on through your own art and the inspiration and skills you have given to so many. I am grateful to have known you.
Diane Will
June 3, 2003
Zoltan - you have touched our lives in ways we will never forget. Thank you! Heaven is a much brighter place with you in it.
We will miss you,
Brian and Rhonda
Brian and Rhonda Smith
June 2, 2003
Zoltan will always be a treasured inspiration to me, to watercolor and to the world of art.
Rita and Michael Squier
June 2, 2003
I know that my redeemer lives, and because he lives, I too shall live. Thank you, Zoltan, for the beauty you brought to my life. Keep heaven awash with color, please!
Mary Bach-Loreaux
June 2, 2003
Keith and Eleanor Shadlock
June 2, 2003
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