Chesterton Tribune



Artist Gretchen Corazzo dies at age 102

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Gretchen Schoeninger Corazzo died January 11, 2016. She was proudly 102 years old.

Gretchen was born in 1913 in Ravinia, Ill. to Joseph and Hester Hall Schoeninger.

She is preceded in death by her husband Alexander Corazzo in 1971.

She is survived by her daughters, Nina Corazzo (Mike Jelski) and Michele Corazzo, both of Chesterton, beloved grandsons Aaron Sisto and Alexander Sisto, close friends Father Blaney, Dale Lau, Beatrice Takeuchi, the DeHoff family, and her wonderful loyal Corgi, Baxter.

Gretchenís childhood was interesting. She attended progressive schools around the country including Francis Parker in Chicago and boarding school in Germany, in addition to being home schooled.

In 1925, the family moved to Carmel Calif., an artistís colony, where her home was a gathering place for artists including composer John Cage and journalist Lincoln Steffens. Poet Robinson Jeffers and John Steinbeck also lived in the area. Her childhood influenced her decision to be an artist. She also developed a deep love for animals and nature.

She attended the New Bauhaus (later the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology). Here she met and married Alexander Corazzo. At their home on Cermak and in Hyde Park their lives were filled with artists, architects, musicians and writers including Alexander Calder, Peggy Guggenheim, and Mies Van Der Rohe. After her husband returned from the war and graduated from IIT, the couple indulged Gretchenís love of nature and moved to rural Jackson Township.

She continued as an artist, making cast concrete sculptures, delicate seed paintings, witty collages, beautiful prints under Bill DeHoff at Valparaiso University, and weavings from the many colored wools of her sheep. She kept many animals and tended a large garden which inspired the seed paintings. She was notorious for her home made wines. Summers were filled with visiting children of friends and relatives. She is still an inspiration to them. She also tutored children at the Michigan City neighborhood centers. Gretchen was on good relations with the local farmers whom she admired greatly. She was part of a Jackson township womenís political group and was a 4-H leader for years.

Gretchen recently had a retrospective at the Box Factory Center for the Arts in St. Joseph, Mich. She will be one of four exhibitors at the Ukrainian Institute in Chicago this December 2016 organized by Paul Young. Her photography is in the Art Institute collection.

A memorial will be held on her farm this summer.

In lieu of flowers please consider making a contribution to the Porter County Hospice Association, an incredibly wonderful organization.


Posted 1/14/2016




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