“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am,” said Popeye the Sailor Man and regularly quoted by artist, teacher, scholar, mentor, master, and friend Thomas C. Meuninck who died Saturday, November 23, 2019. Tom was born in Mishawaka, IN on April 11, 1943 and graduated from Mishawaka High School in 1961. He earned a BS in Art Education at Ball State University and began teaching Art and Ceramics at Union City High School, IN, in 1965. In 1966 he married Karen Stevens in Muncie, IN, and began teaching Ceramics at Washington High School on the West Side of South Bend, IN where he taught until he retired. Tom also conducted workshops and taught at the South Bend Regional Art Center, South Bend, IN, Indiana University, South Bend, IN, and Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN.
If asked, he would say his greatest accomplishments were his property (home, studio, sculpture garden, woods, and pond designed by his wife, Karen and him) in Walkerton, IN; a significant body of ceramic artwork (that pioneered techniques, included diverse themes and forms, and demonstrated tremendous expertise); and mentoring and inspiring his family, students and friends. Notable achievements include honors from the Indiana Arts Commission, Lily Endowment for the Arts, and the Midwest Museum of American Art, to name a few. He received the Ball State University, College of Fine Art’s Outstanding Alumnus Award, Muncie, IN. His work is included in many prestigious permanent collections including the Association of Universities and Colleges, Washington D.C., Ball State University, Muncie, IN, Shang Hai Museum of Art, Zhejiang Province, China, Indiana Governor’s Residence, Indianapolis, IN, Teachers Credit Union, Main Branch, South Bend, IN, South Bend Public Library, South Bend, IN, Trust Corp. Bank, Elkhart, IN, Allied Corporation, Morristown, NJ, American Art and Clay Company, Indianapolis, IN, Indiana University, South Bend, IN, South Bend Regional Museum of Art, South Bend, IN, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN, and the White House (Christmas Tree Ornament, 2008), Washington D.C., among others. His exhibition record is extensive and includes regional, national and international recognition.
Tom Meuninck was preceded in death by his parents, father, Albert Meuninck, mother, Jane (Goss) Meuninck, brother-in-law, Charles Stevens, brother-in-law, James Billhymer, sister-in-law, Sharon Shank, mother-in-law, Virginia (Stevens) Rinker, and father-in-law, Vaughn Stevens.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Karen (Stevens) Meuninck, daughter, Jessica Meuninck-Ganger, son, Tyler Meuninck, son-in-law, Jeffrey Ganger, grandson, Isaac Ganger, sister, Judith (Meuninck) Eichorst, brother-in-law, Douglas Eichorst II, brother, James Meuninck, sister-in-law, Jill (Blue) Meuninck, and sister-in-law Jane (Hagen) Stevens, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are pending. Palmer Funeral Home-North Liberty is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com
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