Ed Schoenberger, the man who dreamed of and started the Wausau Festival of Arts, the largest festival of it’s kind in Central Wisconsin, died on Sunday. He was 92.
As we prepare for the Festival’s 44th year, the impact of what Mr. Schoenberger accomplished is hard to miss as his vision and hard work helped raise the awareness of the arts in our community. Today, Artrageous Weekend is a premier event, drawing tens of thousand to the city for the Festival, the opening weekend of Birds in Art and Art in the Park.
Mr. Schoenberger’s legecy is tremendously important to Wausau. Over the years, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised by the Festival and given to young people pursuing art education and matching grants for non-profit agencies to purchase artworks for display.
Thank you, Mr. Schoenberger.
From the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home website:
Edward “Eddie” Theodore Schoenberger 92, went home October 28, 2007.
Ed was born June 14, 1915 in New Orleans, Louisiana son of the late John and Irene (Blust) Schoenberger. Ed lived and breathed art and joyfully shared his gifts with the world. He studied art at the Arts and Crafts Club in New Orleans, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts in Pennsylvania and at the famed Art Students League in New York. As a young man and musician as well, he formed his own band, Eddie Schoenberger and His Whispering Rhythm in which he played saxophone. In later years, his instrument of choice was the flute, which he played in the La Puma Opera Company in New York and also the Civic Chorus and Orchestra in Wausau.
Ed was a W.P.A. artist during the Depression, creating public art works, most notably a mural at the New Orleans Public Library on the history of printing. It was the longest mural on a single canvas in the nation. He was twenty-six years old at the time. His work was also included in a W.P.A. produced book about New Orleans titled Gumbo Ya-Ya. Ed served his country in the United States Air Force during World War II where he created many murals at Kelly Field, Texas and other locations depicting military life. His cartoons were published in the military paper and he devised a training method for pilots to identify friendly and enemy battleships using scale models.
While living in New York, Ed met the love of his life, Sylvia Carpenter and they were married on February 10, 1952. In 1957 Ed and Sylvia moved to Wausau where Ed became the assistant director and later the director of the Marathon County Historical Museum until his retirement in 1980.
Ed took Wausau by storm, infusing his infectious love of art, life and humor into the community. His contributions to the arts in Wausau are too numerous to list, but certainly his crowning achievement was the Festival of Arts, which he founded in 1965. Eddie was never elitist about art and believed anyone could create art if they wanted to. This was especially true of children, whose expression and truth is pure. As an artist in residence in the public schools he relished encouraging youngsters to use their creative energy to make art. As Eddie once wrote “Art is the creative use of the human imagination to interpret, understand and enjoy life.” Enjoy life, he did, and we are grateful to have enjoyed him.
He will be greatly missed by his beloved wife and helpmate, Sylvia, Wausau; son, Konrad (Mary) Schoenberger, Ashland; daughter, Kim Schoenberger, Wausau; special friend, Jeannette Eauslin; sisters, Helena, Abita Springs, L.A. and Venus, McComb, Mississippi; nephews, nieces and many adoring friends.Besides his parents he was preceded in death by a sister, Irene and brother, Leonard.
Memorial services will be 5 p.m. Friday, November 2, 2007 at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 6th Street, Wausau. Services will be conducted by Ed’s family. Friends may call Friday from 3 p.m. until the time of services all at the funeral home.A special thank you to the wonderful caregivers at North Central Health Care C-Unit and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services for the loving care given to Ed.
In lieu of flowers, a scholarship in the visual arts is planned in his honor. Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Wausau is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.peterson.kraemer.com