Donald Polsky, a modern architect who brought the Mid-Century Modern style to the Midwest, died of COVID-19 and pneumonia. He was 92.
Born September 30, 1928 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Polsky graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1951. He served in the U.S. Air Force in French Morocco where he designed and built a radar installation, housing and storage facilities, before traveling to Los Angeles to become an apprentice to Richard Neutra, who helped establish Southern California's modern architectural aesthetic.
Polsky was so eager to work for the modern master that he offered his services without pay until Neutra recognized his value. Within weeks, Polsky was earning a salary. He went on to serve as a Neutra job captain from 1953 to 1956. Polsky later became the architecture director for MCA Inc., a predecessor to NBCUniversal Media, before deciding in 1964 to move his young family to Omaha, Nebraska, to establish his own practice.
An avid skier and ardent Cornhusker football fan, Polsky married Corinne Neer in 1957, a marriage that spanned 58 years until her death in 2015. Polsky is survived by his son Jeff Polsky, Jeff's wife Nancy and their daughters Sarah and Malia, as well as daughter Debbie Werner, her husband Andrew and their sons Jim and Rob.
Polsky won local, state and national recognition for his work, including the Harry F. Cunningham Gold Medal for Architectural Excellence from the Nebraska chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Architecture from the University of Nebraska College of Architecture.
In addition to designing homes, Polsky established the practice in the mid-1950s of overseeing construction, making him a pioneer of the design-build concept.
Polsky served as president of the Omaha chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1968 and of the Nebraska Society of Architects in 1976. He was elevated to fellowship in the American Institute of Architects in 2003. His homes continue to attract devoted followers decades after they were built.
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Published by Omaha World-Herald on Jan. 5, 2021.