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Obituary for William J. Schnute
William J. Schnute, high-relief wood carver and owner of Oak Leaves Studio, died on October 4th, 2021, at age 78.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he grew up in Chicago and LaGrange, Illinois. He attended the University of Iowa, graduating in 1966 with a B.S. in General Science.
He began work as a research assistant in the Pharmacology and Toxicology laboratory at the University of Iowa in 1967. Drafted into the military in 1968, he served until 1971 at the Nike Hercules Air Defense System in San Francisco, California. He returned to the university's Pharmacology and Toxicology laboratory in 1971 as a research associate and stayed until 1974.
A self taught carver, he began when he was 7 years old, and from childhood on he honed his skills through trial and error. His studio first opened in Iowa City, Iowa in 1974 and ran in that location until 1987. It then moved to Carmel Valley, California and remained there until 2004. A trip to New England in the fall of 2003 led him to its present location on the grounds of Frye's Measure Mill and its owners Pam and Harley Savage to whom William and Robin will always be grateful. Each studio location afforded him the opportunity to produce a prolific body of work that he hoped would "stand the test of time."
In addition to his studio work he was proud to be a participant in the following endeavors:
- "The Natural World in High Relief" solo exhibition at Fruitlands Art Museum in Harvard Massachusetts in 2016 under its Chief Curator Michael Volmar
- The opportunity to create his last major commission piece "Cesar's Watch" for Amy and Cesar at LaBelle Winery in Amherst, New Hampshire in 2015.
- Participating in "Sculptural Visions" at Saint – Gaudens Nation Historic site in Cornish, New Hampshire for 11 years.
- Being on the faculty of Yestermorrow Design / Build School in Warren, Vermont and Sharon Arts Center School in Sharon, New Hampshire for six years
- He held juried memberships in the Carmel Art Association, the Society of Animal Artists and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.
- Author of the 1985 book High – Relief Wood Carving.
He leaves behind many loving and supportive people in his life.
Longtime companion Robin who is grateful for her twenty three years with this extraordinary person. His gentle soul will walk with her everyday.
Sister Jane Baugher (Phill), Brothers Carl Schnute (Lynda) and Jamie Schnute.
Children Christine Brewer, Christopher Schnute (Hyacinth), Renn Serna (Aaron), and Waiola Morgan (Jeff). Grandchildren Megan, Samantha, and Natalie Brewer, Braden and Romeo Schnute, Dain Morgan, and James Serna.
Joan Schnute and Ronda Reinke who gave loving support through formative years. Many nieces and nephews. Many wonderful friends.
William's love of nature and all things living will indeed stand the test of time in the carvings of Flora and Fauna he so masterfully created.