Some of you may already know this, but Don is on life support at Arlington Medical Center, after a brief and unexpected illness. His family has made the decision to discontinue life support on Thursday, in order to allow anyone interested to pay their final respects in person, today. The visiting hours are 9 AM to 2:30 PM, 4 to 6:30 and 7 to 8:30.
Don has been a pillar of the Graphic Design Program at TCU for over 40 years. He has brought positive national attention to the region and university through his professional work, as well as the work of his unending stream of students and protĂ©gĂ©s. Murray Tinkelman, a close friend of Don’s and legend of illustration in his own right, has dubbed Don “The Godfather of Dallas Illustration.” While Don modestly has avoided this title at every opportunity, he has clearly earned the mantle in triplicate. Virtually every successful illustrator, and many studio artists in the DFW region were at one time or another students or employees of his. Having rock star status in an academic field can and often does produce a sense of arrogance and superiority in a professor. I know we’ve all experienced this kind of thing either directly or vicariously. However, in Don’s case, I have never seen a more encouraging, nurturing approach to pedagogy, regardless of the individual’s level of skill and talent. He had a quiet and pleasant way of getting the best work out of everyone without ever resorting to negative tactics. He truly showed respect for every student as an individual, and did his best to work with that person on those terms.
Something you probably did not not know is that Don had no medical insurance. His family is about to be hit with astronomical medical bills and other expenses. To try and ease the burden, we-his friends and colleagues–are collecting contributions for Sandra and his extended family. If you are interested in helping, you can send a check directly to the address below. Make it payable to “Sandra Punchatz”. Any amount will be sincerely appreciated. In the meantime, I know we’ll all remember Don in our own ways, celebrate his life and accomplishments, and consider ourselves fortunate to have known him.
Please forward this message to anyone and everyone you can think of who knew Don, and please say a prayer for his family.
Coordinator of Graphic Design
Texas Christian University School of Art