Graphic design professor dies

Graphic design professor dies

Illustrator and adjunct professor of graphic design Don Punchatz died Thursday night after a cardiac arrest during fall break put him in a coma for more than a week.

Punchatz’s son, Greg Punchatz, wrote in an e-mail that the family discontinued life support Thursday.

“My dad was an amazingly talented artist, but he was an even better human being; the kindest, most giving man I have ever known,” Greg Punchatz wrote. “If everybody was a little more like my dad the world would be a better place for all.”

The professor fell while getting out of bed Oct. 11 and suffered a cardiac arrest, but it is unclear whether his heart stopped before or after the fall, said Lewis Glaser, associate professor of graphic design.

Family and friends paid their final respects on Wednesday, Glaser said.

Often called “the Godfather of Illustration” by colleagues and other illustrators, Punchatz took several incoming artists into his Sketch Pad Studio and turned them into a success story, said Mike Wimmer, owner of I Do Art Inc.

Wimmer said he apprenticed with Punchatz at his Sketch Pad Studio and was present the summer of 1983 when he had to be rushed to the hospital for stomach cancer. Later that week, doctor’s removed Punchatz’s stomach.

“He fought and battled cancer and really won,” Wimmer said. “He appreciated every day he had.”

Punchatz often rallied behind political issues dealing with the environment, orphans’ rights laws, and basic human rights, Wimmer said. He believed that everyone’s voice mattered and that people should not turn the other cheek and just let things happen.

“The last time I saw Don was a few months ago. He had that long wavy hair, and he was dressed up in his cool art clothes,” Wimmer said. “He was eternally (youthful) and I think that is what really kept him in touch with his students.”

Animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney, cartoonist Jack Davis and MAD Magazine influenced Punchatz, according to the May 2009 issue of Rough Magazine, produced by the Dallas Society of Visual Communications.

In the fast-paced world of advertising, Punchatz remained gentle and calm, said Bill Galyean, graphic design professor. Galyean said Punchatz’s accomplishments as an artist and illustrator left many wondering how one person can have so much talent.

Punchatz, a nationally recognized illustrator, designed the “Doom” video game package art and logo. His work has been commissioned by several renown publications.

A unique character and a wonderful friend, Punchatz was like no one else, said Murray Tinkelman, award-winning artist and director of the limited-residency Master of Fine Arts in Illustration program at the Hartford Art School.

“As a friend there was none better, as a colleague there was none better, as an illustrator there was none better,” Tinkelman said. “He will be sorely missed.”

Punchatz does not have medical insurance. Family and friends are taking donations to help the Punchatz’s family pay for medical expenses. For more information, e-mail Glaser at [email protected]