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Julius Orosz [1921-2013]; Artist with Parkinson’s kept painting




Julius Orosz, an artist whose watercolors were shown at museums and galleries and who was the retired owner of a commercial arts studio, died Dec. 8 — his 92nd birthday — at his farm in Curtice, Ohio.

His daughter, Susan Orosz, said he died of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Despite having the disease, which was diagnosed about 15 years ago, Mr. Orosz continued to paint, an accomplishment that amazed his doctors, Ms. Orosz said.

“It wasn’t the greatest but he still did painting. He got very abstract at the end, but you could recognize what he was trying to paint. The week before he passed away he painted a turkey,” she said.

Mr. Orosz earned his living for many years as a commercial illustrator and owned his own studio, Art Staff, which was located in different locations in downtown Toledo while under his ownership. The graphics firm did commercial work including brochures, advertisements, annual reports, and slide presentations for advertising agencies and area businesses and companies.

Ms. Orosz said her father created illustrations used for the Lily paper-products division of Owens-Illinois and worked on the early Pink Panther advertising campaign for Owens Corning.

Among the talented artists hired by Mr. Orosz was the late Robert Heindel, a magazine and publication illustrator who was known for his paintings of ballerinas.

“Sometimes he had maybe five people working for him. It was a standing thing. They would get training, leave, and compete against him,” Ms. Orosz said.

Mr. Orosz’s wife, the late Geraldine Orosz, worked at Art Staff, handling the business operations while Mr. Orosz took care of things on the creative end. He sold the company in 1988.

As a painter, Mr. Orosz was a prize-winning artist whose work included portraits, landscapes, and city scenes. He began showing his work in the Toledo Area Artists Exhibitions in 1948. Thirty of his watercolors and drawings went on display in a one-man show at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962.

His daughter said he was admired for his ability to paint scenery live as the light changed and progressed throughout the day.

“Other artists would watch him because they couldn’t do it,” she said.

Ms. Orosz said her father didn’t like painting people because he said they always wanted to look better than they actually appeared.

“He was very good at capturing them, but people didn’t like that,” she said.

The Ohio Watercolor Society honored Mr. Orosz for his painting Flower Stall, which became part of a travel exhibit in Ohio. He painted the scene while vacationing in Germany in 1980.

Mr. Orosz’s membership in the Toledo Tile Club, a group of arts-minded people formed in 1895, dates to at least the early 1960s. The club limits itself to 20 members, including artists, musicians, architects, and attorneys.

“He certainly mastered the techniques of watercolor,” said Larry Golba, a Tile Club member.

The son of Hungarian immigrants, Mr. Orosz was born in 1921 and grew up in the Birmingham neighborhood in East Toledo. He was a graduate of the former Macomber Vocational High School, where he was taught by watercolorist Ernest Spring.

Mr. Orosz’s plans to attend art school stalled when he went into the U.S. Coast Guard. A veteran of World War II, he was a Morse code operator on a destroyer escort in the Pacific.

After the war, Mr. Orosz attended the Mienzinger Art School in Detroit. He married the former Geraldine Ellerbush on Jan. 27, 1951. She died on March 26, 2012.

Mr. Orosz was active until about eight years ago in the Monday Morning Painters, a casual group of artists who go to breakfast, travel, then paint scenic spots in the region. He and others formed the group in 1958.

He received an award in 1970 from the Ohio Wildlife Division for conservation efforts on his farm near Cedar Creek in Jerusalem Township.

Surviving are his daughter, Susan Orosz; sister, Anna Kuhn, and a granddaughter.

A gathering will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Dec. 29 in Calvin United Church of Christ, followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m.

Tributes are suggested to the church or the Toledo Museum of Art.

Freck Funeral Chapel in Oregon is handling arrangements.

Contact Mark Reiter at: or 419-724-6199.

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