William Kolbe

William Kolbe

March 22, 1925 - February 15, 2018

William DeForest Kolbe (“Sweet William”) was born March 22, 1925 in Duluth, Minnesota to Ida Fisher and Emil Kolbe. He passed away at home peacefully with his family by his side on Feb. 15, 2018.

Bill spent his early years in Duluth, MN and Spooner, WI where he graduated from Spooner High School in 1943 and enlisted in the Army in WWII. He spent 3 years in the South Pacific as a mobile anti-aircraft gunner and aircraft recognition instructor.

After the service, Bill attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth, then transferred to Wisconsin State University in Superior, WI where he acted as art editor of the school newspaper and the yearbook. In 1950 he graduated with an all-level teaching degree in history and art.

Upon graduation, he married Ella Harju Kolbe and they took their first teaching jobs in Highwood, Illinois. Bill and Ella had 4 children there-Del, Jill, Val and Ken. Later, Bill had an unusual teaching combination: head of the Art Department at Highland Park High School, Illinois and assistant football coach. In 1960, Bill received his M.S. in Art Education from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology.

The family headed for warmer climes in Arizona where he served as Chairman of the

Art Department at North High School and evening Instructor at Phoenix College. In 1964 William was hired by President Flowers to start a watercolor program and supervise art education student teachers at then Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. He was there for over 40 years becoming Professor Emeritus during that time.

Bill was artist-in-residence for five years at the Legends of Golf (the predecessor of the Senior Golf Tour) when it was held at Onion Creek Country Club in Austin. His watercolors of the SWTSU campus became the University’s Christmas cards for 10 years. He was also a member of the Texas Watercolor Society and the San Antonio Watercolor Group. Bill’s specialty with watercolor was Aquarelle and his creative observation of the world led to wondrous works of fantasy and pageantry. His paintings have been in exhibitions and competitions coast to coast, along with shows in Greece and Sweden.

Sweet William was wellknown to family, friends and colleagues by his wit, humor and ability to remember an abundance of jokes over the years. He will also be remembered for his love of music, golf and the Minnesota Vikings.

William is predeceased by his parents; sister Katie, brothers Richard and John, and son Ken.

Survivors include wife of 67 years Ella Kolbe, son Del Kolbe (Janice) of Austin, daughters Jill Bamer (Mike) of Cedar Park and Val Graves (Greg) of Crystal, MN; grandchildren Nick Kolbe (Tiffany), Jacquie Potosky (Alex), Amanda Ham (John), Zac Bamer, Will Graves and Lauren Graves; great granddaughters Izayah Kolbe and Avri Ham.

The family would like to extend our thanks to the staff of Austin Heart Hospital and Kindred Hospice for the care they provided. Also special gratitude to Cindy R. , Jill H.

and Karen E. for their generous help and support of Bill and the entire family. Finally, we appreciate the camaraderie dad enjoyed with his Post Office buddies.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Pennington Funeral Home on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m., followed by a gathering of family and friends to honor Sweet William at Palmer’s from 2-4.

Memorials may be made to the William Kolbe Scholarship in Art Education or the Ken

Kolbe Texas State Men’s Golf Fund Endowment at Texas State University Development Foundation, 601 University Drive, JCK-480, San Marcos, TX 78666.

Dad, you created so much beauty from the scenes on earth, we can only imagine what artistic gifts you will share in heaven.

Arrangements by Pennington Funeral Home, San Marcos, Texas, 512-353-4311.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666