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Albert Anthony Ondush, 92, a professional artist and art educator, of Clarks Summit, died Sunday at Regional Hospital of Scranton. Mr. Ondush was one of 13 children whose interest in art began when he was just 4 years old. He and his loving wife, the former Joan Coccodrilli, would have celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on Aug. 13.
Born Feb. 3, 1927, in Hokendauqua, he was the son of the late John and Elizabeth (Piscannon) Ondush. He was a 1953 graduate of Hokendauqua Whitehall High School and honorably served in the United States Army during the Korean War . He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kutztown University and went on to study further with many internationally acclaimed artists who provided a solid foundation for his outstanding work in both watercolor and oil. Mr. Ondush studied extensively with Xavier Gonzalez at the Art Students League in New York, with John Pike in Woodstock, N.Y., and with Everett Raymond Kinstler, who painted the official portraits of five U.S. presidents, Michael Del Priore, renowned portrait artist, and also with watercolor artist, Timothy J. Clark. Also he studied at the Prosopon School of Iconology.
Mr. Ondush had shared details about his numerous painting holidays to New England and Canada with fellow professionals. He spoke how wonderful it was to paint on location with other artists there to inspire his work and credits them with "showing him the light."
During his career, he had met the famous artist Jamie Wyeth, whose father, Andrew Wyeth, accepted a large stuffed American eagle from him for his studio. Other well-known international artists included Chen Chi, Eric Sloane, Tony Randall and Tony Bennett, Helen Van Wyk, Edgar Whitney, William J. Schultz, Charles Movalli, John Howard Sanden and Valfred Thelin. He also studied with Ranulph Bye of the Wyoming Valley Art League, Wilkes-Barre.
Mr. Ondush was an art instructor in the Abington Heights School District for more than 40 years; adjunct faculty at the University of Scranton, Marywood University and Penn State's Worthington Scranton campus. His reputation as a master artist and teacher was demonstrated when he explained the process of icon-writing on wood using egg tempera and fragile gold leaf. In his spiritual search for a more profound experience in the discipline of mind, heart and hand, Mr. Ondush studied at Prosopon School of Iconology, Whitney Point, N.Y., with master iconographer Vladislav Andrejev. He also studied at the Portrait Institute of New York, Truro Center for the Arts, Cape Cod, Mass., and the Baum Art School, Allentown.
Mr. Ondush was known and admired for his years of generosity to many charitable events. He maintained a studio in Northeast Pa. since 1960 and taught private lessons and painted commissioned works of art. He was able to communicate his artistic spirit by interpreting what he saw around him and shared it with many. Often while having a coffee in a local diner, he would sketch his server on a placemat. An advocate of "Plein Air" painting and working from life: landscapes, florals and still life. He strived to bring the beauty of nature for the viewer to enjoy and reflect. His objective as an artist was not merely to record, it was a reflection of his living in the spirit of God. He will be sadly missed.
He was a member of Our Lady of the Snows Parish, where his artwork is displayed in its gathering room, the Albert Ondush Gallery. A faithful man, he volunteered during the parish annual country bazaars, as he would draw caricatures of individuals. He was also a member of the Portrait Society of America, the American Impressionalists Society and the Artists Fellowship Inc. He was honored by the Abington Rotary Club having been awarded the Four-Way Test in 2009. He received the William L. Connell Jr. Award, the Frank T. Dolbear Memorial Fellowship. He taught at area senior centers.
Also surviving are two sisters, Veronica Augustine and Helen Humanick, both of Whitehall; a brother, Thomas Ondush, Bethlehem; nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by three sisters, Elizabeth, Mary and Ann; and five brothers, John, Joseph, Michael, Andrew and James Ondush, and an infant brother.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday at 2 p.m. to be celebrated by Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, pastor, at Our Lady of the Snows Church, 301 S. State St., Clarks Summit. Military honors will take place following Mass. Interment, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.
The family will receive relatives and friends Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Jennings-Calvey Funeral and Cremation Service Inc., 111 Colburn Ave., Clarks Summit, PA 18411.
Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of the Snows Parish, 301 S. State St., Clarks Summit, PA 18411.
Dear Joan and family, I am a former student of Albert's from the 60's when he taught classes in oil painting on Adams Avenue in Downtown Scranton, PA. It was Mr Ondush that taught me the importance of using the primary colors and mixing those colors to create all other colors needed to paint with. He encouraged my father to further my education in a college atmosphere. I was only 13 years old when I was in his class with all college students. Albert was impressed by the professionalism of my brush strokes. If it was not for him I probably would not have pursued a career in art. I have been an illustrator and a designer for the past 40 years. I just hear this sad news about his passing. Please know there hasn't been a day during my career that I haven't thought about his teachings. He was an extremely fabulous artist, and such a kind soft spoken man. I will miss him. Joan we were supposed to get together again, but as you know I was caring for my parents and I could not get away. My prayers are with you always. My deepest sympathy for you and your family.Pattie Caprio
Pattie Caprio Mar 6 2020 12:00 AM
Dear Joan, I don't know if you remember me, but we met at the Cleveland Clinic in May in the restaurant. We talked briefly and there was a wonderful connection between us. I came across your husband's card just the other day and looked him up. I was so sorry to find his obituary. June 2 was the day we finally were able to leave the hospital after many difficult days. I hope that you can find peace in God's love and in the love of so many people you have blessed with your kindness, for that is what you showed me that difficult day at lunch. My sincerest sympathyBernadette WubbelBend, Oregon
Bernadette Wubbel Aug 12 2019 12:00 AM
Mrs. Ondush,I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Please know you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.Mark James
Mark M. James Jun 17 2019 12:00 AM
Dear Joan,I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You will be in our family's prayers and thoughts. May God comfort you, as only he can, during this time.With sympathy,Greg, Gloria, Ana and Lydia Marotti
Gloria Marotti Jun 6 2019 12:00 AM
Dear Joan, I am very sorry for the loss of your dear husband. The beautiful winter landscape that he painted for me hangs proudly at my home. May his memory be eternal. With warmest regards and sympathy.
Lisa Toole Jun 6 2019 12:00 AM
Peace be with you, Uncle Al. You are dearly loved and greatly missed. I will take care of Aunt Joan for us. Thank you for the unconditional love, support, and encouragement you provided me through the years. Lynn
Lynn Coccodrilli Jun 5 2019 12:00 AM
Mr. Ondush was my 9th grade art teacher (1966). He also taught my mother Joyce, and my close friend, Linda. An artist weaves a never finished tapestry through his works, the sharing of knowledge with others, and in turn, their works and sharing..... a true gift in perpetuity. Thank you, Mr. Ondush!
Rich Klinkel Jun 5 2019 12:00 AM
Joan, Even though I didn't know Al, You spoke so fondly of him that I know he was a wonderful man. May he rest in peace and may you hold tight to your wonderful memories of him. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
Janie Schneider Jun 5 2019 12:00 AM
So sorry for your loss. May your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. Psalm 90:10
RH Jun 5 2019 12:00 AM
Dear JoanMy heart goes out to you. Your precious Al is now with the creator of all the beauty he captured on canvas for all of us to enjoy. You are in my prayers as you celebrate his life of dedicated love. I have many mementos of him in my room.
Msgr. John J. Bendik Jun 4 2019 12:00 AM