Jon Onye Lockard, Master Artist & Professor Has Died


Jon Lockard

Lockard, Jon 1/25/1932 – 3/25/2015  

Jon Onye Lockard age 83 of Ann Arbor passed away on March 25th surrounded by family and dear friends. He was born January 25, 1932, on Detroit’s east side. The son of the late Cecil E. Lockard, from Marianna, Arkansas, and Lillian Jones, from Port Arthur, Mississippi. He graduated from Eastern High School in 1949, Wayne State University in 1953, and the University of Toronto in 1958. He was a professor emeritus from Washtenaw Community College where he taught life drawing & portraiture for over 40 years and at the University of Michigan Department of African-American & African Studies. He was a past president and life-long member of the National Conference of Artists, having led a contingent of Artists to Goree Island off the coast of Senegal, West Africa. He co-produced and hosted Barden Cable’s Sankofa television program. He was a co-founder and associate director of The Society for the Study of African Culture and Aesthetics and he served as a Senior Art Advisor for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. He was an amazing artist, muralist, master painter and story teller. His works speak with an uncommon eloquence, sophistication, and vibrancy and may be found in many collections nationally and internationally. Professor Lockard’s most notable masterpieces include a series of murals at Wayne State University, entitled, Continuum, and many murals & paintings at the University of Michigan, Central State University, and the Charles Wright Museum of African-American History. His mural work was featured in Walls of Pride by Robin Dunitz. At the time of his passing he was in the process of completing a series of books for students, emerging artists, and art appreciators encompassing over 50 years of insights in the arts. His mottos were “Make them hear you”; and “Think about what you think about.” His life’s philosophy was the West African principle of Sankofa, which means, “You don’t know where you are going, if you don’t know where you’ve been.” He was the beloved husband of Leslie Kamil. He is also survived by his brother Cecil Lockard (Ypsilanti), his X-wife Carolyn Barnett (Detroit), three sons John Lockard (Detroit), Jan Coulter (Detroit), Carlton Lockard (Atlanta), and his three grandchildren, Karla Lockard (DC); and Jade & Chad Lockard (Atlanta). He will be greatly missed by his family and friends and his two “dogs” Samson & Levi. A visitation & viewing will be held in his honor on Sunday March 29th from 3-7 P.M. at Nie Funeral Home 3767 W. Liberty Ann Arbor, MI. Funeral services in celebration of his life and legacy will be held at Christian Love Fellowship Church, 1601 Stamford Rd., Ypsilanti Monday March 30th at 11:00 A.M. Family hour 10:00 A.M. Dr. Debbie Mitchell officiating. Shiva will be held on Monday & Tuesday evenings. The family requests that contributions be made to the Jon Lockard Foundation which seeks to link area youth with community elders for mentorship opportunities. Many thanks to family, friends, clergy, students & the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center team for their expert care, extraordinary attention and loving support.






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  1. Mike Mosher says:

    The lion now sleeps. Ann Arbor and southeastern Michigan’s greatest teacher in my lifetime, and every day I teach art students at Saginaw Valley, I pass on some of his knowledge and (hopefully) wisdom. His 1980 murals in the WSU Manoogian Student Center are one of the dozen greatest artworks in Michigan, and a great educational resource. And we have him to thank, as part of the committee that made decisions, for the grand MLK Memorial in Washington DC. We are so fortunate to have known him, his work. A life so well spent, that touched thousands of students over many decades.

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