Jack McWhorter, age 71 of Akron, passed away peacefully on May 1, 2022 after a brief illness. Jack was born on September 27, 1950, in Canton, Ohio to the late James and Dorothy McWhorter. He and his family have lived in Akron for 45 years.
Jack was a Professor of Art at Kent State University at Stark for 32 years and loved teaching. But his passion was painting. He knew at a young age that he wanted to be an artist, and pursued his craft throughout his life with dedication and joy.
Jack was drafted into the Army after graduating from high school in 1968. He served a 13 month tour of duty in Vietnam, and was awarded The Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service. Upon receiving his MFA in art from Kent State University in 1983, Jack worked for St. Paul's Social Action Committee in Canton as an Artist in Residence, filling the Horace Mann Senior Center and the Thurman Munson Community Center (the former Burns school, where he attended grade school) with murals. He also spent a year in Israel teaching at the Walworth Barbour American International School. He was a visiting artist at the St. Luca School of Art and Architecture, Brussels, Belgium, and for the Ohio Arts Council.
He began teaching for Kent State at Stark in 1990. Since 2000 he served as the Art Department Coordinator, was the curator for the Fine Art Gallery, and was the regional
contact and coordinator for the National Scholastic Art Competition. Jack loved encouraging and mentoring students, involving them in numerous community arts projects and leading several student trips to NYC and China. He was proud of the growth in the art program during his tenure and was looking forward to retiring some day and passing on the torch.
Jack was a practicing artist and his paintings and works on paper have been exhibited widely including solo and group exhibitions in Beijing, Brooklyn, Brussels, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Glasgow, Leuven, New York, Overijse, Tel Aviv, Siena, and Ventura. The Painting Center in New York City represents his work.
A permanent installation of Jack's work called "Stele Forest: A Typographical Fairy Tale" adorns a wall near the south entrance to the Fine Arts Building at Stark. Six panels, each 7' x 16', were inspired by the alphabets and writing systems of several ancient cultures. During the summer of 2004 Jack could be found most days on a lift painting the panels in situ.
Jack was an avid reader and chess player, and lifelong fan of Cleveland sports teams. One of his greatest joys was watching his boys play basketball and soccer, and coaching the boys basketball teams for many years for Spring Garden Waldorf School. He loved the outdoors, thunderstorms, sunsets, and listening to the crickets on a summer evening. His work was inspired by the natural world, from the immensity of the night sky to the intricate patterns found in leaves, rocks, plants and seashells. He was a keen observer of the world around him and never lost his sense of wonder and awe.
Colleagues and students describe him as supportive, generous, kind, and genuine. He touched the lives of many and will be missed by all who knew him. In the words of fellow artists and colleagues, "Jack has always been the strong, tolerant one in charge while gently listening and making decisions that everyone can abide by." "Jack has been such an ally and great friend, a real support and comrade throughout my career". He was a gentle soul who always considered others and never looked to gain at anyone's expense.
Preceded in death by parents James and Dorothy McWhorter, brothers Bill and Fred, and sister Carol Stubblefield. Survived by wife of 34 years Sharon (Gleason), sons Ian and Kyle, brother Jim and twin brother Bob, and sister Barb (Mowery), and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Per Jack's wishes, cremation has taken place. A private burial service will be held at Foxfield Preserve in Wilmot. In lieu of flowers, contributions for the Jack E. McWhorter Memorial Scholarship at Kent State at Stark may be sent to the KSU Foundation, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH, 44242, or online at givetokent.org. Please make checks payable to the KSU Foundation and note "Jack E. McWhorter Memorial Scholarship" on the Memo line.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm at the Fine Arts Building at Kent State at Stark, located at 6000 Frank Avenue N. W., North Canton, Ohio 44720. Jack's art will be for sale in the William J. and Pearl F. Lemmon Art Gallery and proceeds from the sales of his work will go to the Jack E. McWhorter Scholarship Fund at Kent State at Stark.
The staff of the Hummel Funeral Home in Akron is honored to serve the McWhorter family.