Wendell Castle 1932-2018
Wendell Castle, an artist, furniture maker and sculptor, died Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at his home in Scottsville, N.Y., at the age of 85.
Years before moving to New York, the Castle family called Holton their home town. Wendell's father, Marvin, taught at Holton High School, and his mother, Bernice, taught at Central Grade School. Growing up in Holton, his interests were in model airplanes and soap-box derby cars.
Wendell graduated from HHS with the class of 1951. He was proud to accept the alumni award from HHS in 1986. He was also honored with a distinguished alumni award and honorary doctor degree from The University of Kansas. He was known as “the father of the art furniture movement.”
Castle's exciting designs of chairs, clocks, desks, tables and other objects often surprised and baffled those who saw them. Always with a sketch pad to begin, he used his knowledge of woods, sculpture, painting and design to create the furniture that was his art.
Wendell worked with and used well-established processes, but was always looking at what is ahead for his designs — even with the use of a cutting-edge digital robot, which goes by the name of Mr. Chips or Woody.
In 2000, Wendell crafted two ornate chairs made of patinaed bronze. Their memorial reads: “In 2000, Kansas State University, Beach Museum of Art, purchased with funds matched by Nancy Benedict, Wayne Castle and Wendell Castle, in honor of Marvin Oliver Castle, Class of 1931, and Bernice Decker Castle, Class of 1931.”
His works are on display in more than 50 museums around the world. The internet has many photos under Wendell Castle collections. Starting June 23, some of his works will be on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo., for a few months.
Wendell is survived by his wife, Nancy Jurs; daughter, Alison; stepson, Byron Jurs; two grandchildren; a brother, the Rev. Wayne Castle (Margaret) of Basehor; and a sister, Nancy Benedict (Gerry) in Colorado.
Funeral arrangements are pending.