John Gustafson

Resided in Gladstone, MI
Died April 7, 2009

H. John Gustafson, age 78, of 705 North Bluff Drive, passed away Tuesday morning April 7, 2009 at home.
John was born March 26, 1931 in Escanaba the son of John and Lillian (Wickman) Gustafson. He was raised in Escanaba where he graduated in 1949 from Escanaba High School. John was a member of the Escanaba National Honor

0 Tributes for “John Gustafson

    Jan…Our hearts were very saddened today when we learned of John’s death. Our love and prayers go out to you and the kids. I will miss John’s ever-present smile, his sense of humor and his way of making everyone feel loved. Mom and I always loved his painting of Black Rocks….I saw it everyday in my office and it spoke to me and reminded me of my times in Marquette. He was such a wonderful inspiration and guide to so many students….and artists….what a wonderful legacy to leave….Love and Miss you…
    Barb and Rick Cormier
    Loganville, GA

    We extend our deepest sympathy to Janet, Erik, Britt and the extended Gustafson family. John will always be remembered by many for his warm personality, love of and dedication to teaching, and his beautiful art. I’m always reminded of John when I drive our Bluff hill and see the lake with the sun rising or setting—a familiar scene in many of his paintings and photographs. We often exclaim, “It’s a John Gustafson morning!” May God bless and comfort you. Susan & Terry Hampton

    Susan & Terry Hampton
    Gladstone, MI

    Mr. Gustafson will be truly missed. He was like another father to me as a young child spending many hours at his house, the studio, and at the caboose. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Gustafson, Britt and Erik.

    Krista and Tom Hampton
    Kalalmazoo, MI

    Mr. G was my favorite teacher. His inspiration in us as artists and our mutual love of art stays with my husband Cliff and I always.

    Kim Arntzen
    Cecil, MI

    Dear Family of John,

    My wife Kelly and I worked with your dear husband at Escanaba High School, and we remember his kind smile and friendly demeanor, both in and out of school. He treated us (new teachers) with respect and kindness, and we are deeply sorry for your loss.

    Greg and Kelly Libby
    Escanaba, MI

    I, too, was a student of Mr. G’s, graduating from EHS in ’72. What I learned from him became a foundation for my career in art education. Whenever I’d run into him, he’d ask me how things were going in my classroom. He truely was a special person. What he taught will enhance others’ lives for generations to come. Thank you, Mr. G. and my condolences to Jan, Eric, and Britt.

    Lynn Buckland Mariin
    Gladstone, MI

    Dear Janet,

    Carl and I were saddened to learn of John’s passing. We didn’t know he was ill. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We pray God’s peace with you during these difficult days. He was a classmate of mine – a “49er”. We will miss seeing him at our class reunion this fall.

    With our love,
    Carl and Marilyn Olson

    Dr. and Mrs. Carl Olson
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Janet we were so sorry to hear of John’s passing. We have such wonderful memories of the four years we spent as your neighbors and tenants in the lovely little house in the woods. What a great opportunity to get to know two wonderful people. I have just read through the tributes to John and it is obvious that he has touched many lives in such a positive way and we are so happy that our lives were touched by him.

    Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and the kids……..

    George and Donna Becker
    Prescott, MI

    John was an important friend to my parents, Roman & Gayle, and was a friend of our extended family. Although I didn’t have the privilege to interact with John (and Janet) much personally, I appreciated his art work – we have a picture, done by John, of our Cottage at Cook Lake – his protrayal captures the beauty and peace of our cottage. Each time I look at the painting, it triggers good memories of that sacred place to our family.

    John and my dad spent many hours together fishing, talking, enjoying creation. I know that he will miss John and all those touched by his life. I also know, as a nursing home administrator, that John’s latter days were difficult and trust that he is now at peace, with joyful images of his family, friends, big fish caught and more!

    God’s presence with each of you as you remember and celebrate John’s life.

    Christopher Gill
    Goshen, IN

    I too had John at Esky, Class of ’79. I was always in awe of the beauty he created with such ease. A few years back I was fortunate enough to see him at the Art show in Ludington Park & tell him of the years of respect for his work. I am proud to have one of his pieces hanging in my living room as well as his pottery on my desk.

    I am sorry for your loss, but grateful to have been in his life.

    Cathy Smith
    Escanaba, MI

    My sympathies to the family of our kind neighbor, so long ago, on the bluff in Gladstone.
    Toni Bal, daughter of Joe and Bev Bal

    Toni Bal
    Grand Rapids, MI


    I was so sorry to hear about John. I am out of town until Saturday night so I will not be able to attend his funeral. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers. John was such a sweet gentle talented person who will be missed.

    Love Sandy

    Sandy Wilson
    Gladstone, MI

    To John’s family, I was surprised when I heard of John’s death. John and Rusty were regulars at the periodic lunches of the 49er guys and when Rusty came alone we were told that John was ailing. John, in his quiet low keyed way, shared his love of the arts with so many through his classroom teaching and civic involvement and we are very proud to say he was a 49er! I maintain the EHS Class Of 1949 data base, so on behalf of the 49ers I extend our sympathies to Janet and family.

    Ronald Sedenquist
    Escanaba, MI

    Janet, Erik and Britt
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Dale & Tammy Hendrickson
    Brussels, WI

    Incase I don’t make it to the funeral or visitation, I want to send my sympathy and let you know I will keep you in my prayers. John has left quite the legacy in our community through his art. We have all been blessed and you can be so proud of his contributions and celebrate his life.

    Laura LaMarche
    Gladstone, MI

    Dear Janet and family, We were deeply saddened to get the news of John’s passing here in Florida. We have spent so many happy times together with you and John, snowmobiling and the caboose, canoeing, all the community theater plays for many years and yes, the many gourmet dinners at your lovely home. The 11 years we spent together at American Dream with John’s beautiful art hung on the walls. We also cherish John’s art that we have in our home. These are memories we share with you, but best of all our deep friendship. We are sorry that we will miss the funeral services but our thoughts and prayers will be with you, & we will see you when we get home.

    Jim & Lois Boydston
    Eustis, FL

    Dear Janet, Erik and Brit,

    I was shocked and deeply saddened hearing about the loss of John. I have so many wonderful memories of him and you Janet and your family. I just had a painting reframed to hang in my new bathroom that John did in 1991 that I have always loved. I still remember two things that John used to tell me when Lyndsay was born “don’t ever give her color books and never tell her to color inside the lines.” Well John never did color inside the lines and I will miss him. My love and prayers go out to you all.

    Tina (Laundre) Chase
    Gladstone, MI

    Dear Jan, Erik, and Britt,

    Words cannot convey the sorrow we are feeling as we have just learned of John’s death. The love we have for your family runs deep. We have many wonderful memories of time spent with you; in your home, at Nehi’s annex, at the dance studio, at Bonifas Fine Arts Center. The Gladstone Studio of Dance Arts would have been nothing without Jan’s costumes and John’s sets. Do you remember the “growing” Christmas tree?

    Dale and I still laugh as we remember the year of our 25th wedding anniversary when each of us secretly asked John to create a gift for the other. The Communion Set for Dale and the painting of the view from Nehi’s deck for me are the prominent pieces of art in our living room today.

    Our prayers and love are with you. God bless you all!

    Susan and Dale Miller
    Farmington Hills, MI

    We would like to pass along our deepest sympathies for your loss. Erik and Britt ? I have many fond memories of your Dad and all of the great times that we had playing around your house and at camp. Those memories will be with me always.

    David Hansen & Family
    Orlando, FL

    I have many fond memories of spending time in Mr. Gustafson’s Art Class in high school. He was a wonderful teacher who opened our eyes to the many ways to express ourselves through art. Please accept my condolences.

    Nancy Schmitt Kaulbach
    Pewaukee, WI

    Janet, Erik, and Britt . . . Our deepest sympathies to you.

    I have many fond memories of our summers spent with “Cousin Johnny”. From rides in the rumble seat of his old Jaguar, to our snowmobiling adventures in the winter. I was deeply saddened when I heard the news and will cherish my memories of our time spent together forever.

    Kristin and Richard Albrecht (Wickman)
    Round Lake, IL

    Please know you are being thought of during this very, difficult time. My deepest sympathy to you all.

    Bridget (Bovin) Beauchamp
    Neenah, WI

    Thinking of you at this time and remembering my Art II class so many years ago. I credit John with getting me off to a good start in art.

    Pat Villeneuve
    Tallahassee, FL

    Dear Mrs. Gustafson and family;

    I just read the paper and wanted to convey my deepest sympathy to all of you.

    I’m a graduate of Escanaba,Class of 1982. Your husband and father was such an inspiration to me that it’s hard to even express. He was such a free spirit and let all of his students be creative in whichever way they saw fit. He challenged us to do our best. I come from a very “crafty” family and did quite well in art so he was always pushing me to try different things. I learned so much from him and I carry that with me still today. I’ve been married for 25 years and together with my wife Bonnie we have been 4-H leaders for over 18 years. Our club,the Soo Hill Clover Club, does a different craft project each month and we owe much of our talents to Mr. Gustafson. I seem, like he did, to find a craft/artistic use for everything that others would normally “throw away”. We have a craft room in our basement that is always busy with 4-H’ers, greatnieces/nephews, relatives and friends……….alittle bit of everything, hot glue, stained glass, glass etching, clay, glitter,paint, ceramics, etc. I also saw, over the years, many students that took his classes “just because they were an easy credit”, find themselves and be creative and create something that they were really proud of. My friend Michelle Dion and I still have our clay pottery that we did in 1980 and we are still to this day so proud of them since Mr. Gustafson put them in the hall display case that year!!!

    I just wanted you to know how much his work and time spent with others is appreciated, I will be forever greatful. The skills that I learned in those few years,and passed on, have multiplied several times over and will continue to do so. His legacy will live on through me.
    Take care.
    ONE of the greatful students,
    Class of ’82
    Delta County 4-H,

    David Marenger
    Escanaba, MI

    To the family of Mr. Gustafson:

    When I attened high school in Escanaba I had “Mr. G” for an art teacher. All of his students loved him. He treated everyone fairly and never showed favoritism. I still work in the art arenna in part because of his encouragement and positive input. He will be missed by me and many others. I am sorry for your loss.

    Kathy Knecht
    Keego Harbor, MI

    John’s wit and talent will be missed. Janet and family you have my condolences. He touched many lives in this area, including mine. Former pupil, Esky class of 1966.

    JoAnn Peippo
    Escanaba, MI

    To Jan, Erik and Britt

    I was so shocked to read that your Husband, Dad had passed away. I didn’t even know he was ill. I remember the birthday parties at your house and seeing the beautiful studio that your dad worked in and in awe of it. Being an Art lover myself. He will be truly missed by all in the Art community and Gladstone too. All my thoughts and prayers. Love, Joanne (Poe) Chouinard

    Joanne Chouinard
    Cornell, MI

    Dear Janet, Erik and Britt,

    My heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies in your time of sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Sharon Milkovich Ralston
    Monroe, MI

    We are saddened at the news of the death of John Gustafson. John will be missed by the entire community. We had the privilege of serving the youth of our community at Escanaba High School. We marvelled at his talent and quiet respect for the students and fellow educators. The art he presented to us at our retirement from Escanaba is displayed prominently and proudly in our home. Best regards and sympathies to Jan and the Gustafson family.

    Jerry and Shelley Cvengros
    Okemos, MI

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