Obituaries

Posted March 1, 2007

Zbigniew Jaworski

Zbigniew Jaworski

Beloved husband, father, and grandfather, devoted to his family, long-time year-round Vineyard Haven resident and artist, Zbigniew "Stan" Jaworski, died on Feb 15.

Born in Poland in 1923, Stan grew up traveling the Polish countryside with his family. While his father set up schools in villages, Stan enjoyed rural culture absorbing their lifestyle, art, and music. Life changed drastically when war struck Poland in 1939. Upon Soviet invasion in eastern Poland, Stan's father was arrested, never to be seen again, and his mother, sisters, and Stan were deported to Northern Kazachstan by cattle car where they were left to die. Thanks to 16-year-old Stan's resourcefulness, the family survived. Stan managed to escape and join the British Army, Polish Corp under General Anders in Iraq. He served as a Forward Artillery Observer and was later promoted to Second Lieutenant. He fought in the Monte Cassino Campaign successfully and other battles throughout Italy. After the War, he left for England where he studied textile design and there he met and married the love of his life, Teresa. They emigrated to the U.S. on the Queen Mary with a baby and $100, settling in New Jersey, where they raised a family. Stan stayed very active as a leader in the Polish community, teaching, singing in the choir, and organizing cultural events.

Together, Stan and Teresa criss-crossed the continent from South Carolina to Napa Valley, California, back to N.J. And finally to Martha's Vineyard declaring it home. Wherever Stan went, it was "the best place to be." He "never met a stranger." Stan was outgoing, well-liked, full of humor, and always ready to recount his adventure stories to those who showed interest. His optimistic philosophy, love of tradition and family, cooking, artistic endeavors, science fiction, and his fearless spirit were inspiring. At age 77, he resumed painting. Stan drew inspiration from his life adventures as well as the beauty of the Island, especially the water and sky. His art has been exhibited at the TreeHouse Gallery: "A Father and Daughter Show: From Poland to America." His greeting cards have been distributed throughout Island stores.

Stan is survived by his sister Teresa Puchowska, of Gdynia, Poland; his wife, Teresa of Vineyard Haven; sons Christopher Jaworski of Bridgewater, N.J., Andrew Jaworski, Highland Park, N.J.; daughters, Anna Dye and Basia Jaworska Silva, of Vineyard Haven; grandsons Thomas Dye, Adam Dye, Colin Jaworski, David Jaworski; granddaughters Briana Jaworski, Juliana Dye; and step-grandson, Milo Silva.

Stan is best known to those who know him by his saying: "Nie ma nic zlego co by na dobre nie wyszlo." In other words: "There is nothing so bad out of which good can't come." We know that he is now in the "best place" that he can be.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 10, at 3 pm at the Tisbury Senior Center, 34 Pine Tree Road, Vineyard Haven. In lieu of flowers, donations in Stan's memory may be made to the Tisbury Senior Center, P.O. Box 1239, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or Martha's Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

Carl A. Whitman

Carl A. Whitman of Menemsha died at home Feb. 24, three days before his 89th birthday. He was born in Beverly and was a graduate of Boston University. He served four years in the United States Army in both the Pacific and European theaters during World War II. After a 37-year career with Sexton Can Company of Everett, he and his wife retired to Menemsha in 1983.

He leaves his wife of 62 years, Ethel Askman Whitman; a son Eric Whitman and Joyce Collins of West Tisbury; a daughter Jane Tierney and husband Terence of Little Compton, R.I; Norma Whitman of Monroe, Maine, widow of son Robert who predeceased his father, six grandchildren and two great grandsons.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 3, at 11 am at the Chilmark Community Church. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

Joseph Low

Joseph Low, an illustrator who did absurdist covers for The New Yorker and won Caldecott honors for the children's book, "Mice Twice," died of natural causes on Feb. 12 at his home in Edgartown. He was 95.

Mr. Low was born in Coraopolis, Pa., in 1911, grew up in Chicago, and attended the Chicago Art Institute. In 1937 he moved to New York to attend the Art Students League, where he studied with the German expressionist artist George Grosz, whose work appears to have influenced aspects of Mr. Low's style. As a student at the league he met Ruth Hull, also an artist, whom he married in 1940.

In an obituary published in the New York Times on Feb. 20, Steven Heller wrote, "In the 1950s Mr. Low was known for his expressively witty linear style, which challenged the prevailing trends of Rockwellian realism, yet was consistent with European comic surrealism. Using wild pen gestures he created glyphlike characters meant for both adult and child that were both sophisticated and accessible."

According to Mr. Heller, the covers Mr. Low created for The New Yorker were based partly on drawings he had made of medieval stone and wood carvings in Basque towns of northern Spain and southern France. "For his later covers, the last appearing in 1980, he drew fanciful animals and scenes but avoided typical gags," he wrote.

Mr. Low did freelance art work for publishers and advertising agencies. In the 1940s, he acquired a vintage hand press and set up his first printing shop. In 1960 he established the Hill Press in Newtown, Conn. There he single-handedly produced limited editions of short stories and poetry, illustrated with his own wood and linoleum cuts. According to the Times, Mr. Low "was an expert in fine typefaces and elegant composition, also enjoying hand lettering, combining scripts and Roman letterforms."

Mr. Low and his wife, Ruth, worked on books together, including "Mother Goose Riddle Rhyme." Mr. Low published her "St. John Backtime" (1985), a history of the Caribbean Island of St. John, where, as sailing enthusiasts, they lived half of the year. Her book "St. John Voices" was ready to be printed when Mr. Low died; it will be published in 2008.

Mr. Low's playful graphic style lent itself to children's picture books, which made up a large portion of his output. "Mice Twice," was named a Caldecott honor book in 1981. He illustrated more than a dozen other books, including "Aesop: L'Estrange" (1964), "A Learical Lexicon: From the Works of Edward Lear" (1966), "There Was a Wise Crow" (1973), "Boo to a Goose" (1975), "The Christmas Grump" (1977), "A Mad Wet Hen and Other Riddles" (1992), and "Beastly Riddles" (1993).

Ruth Low died in 2006. Mr. Low is survived by his daughters Damaris Botwick of New York City and Jenni Oliver of Edgartown, who has also done covers for The New Yorker, and a granddaughter.

Information in this obituary was taken from an obituary published in The New York Times on Feb. 20, written by Steven Heller.