Former Professor Thomas F. Chouteau Passes Away


08/27/2018

Thomas Chouteau '51, a member of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty from 1959 until he retired in 1988, passed away Friday, Aug. 24.

Chouteau was born in Independence, Kansas. He served in the Navy during World War II then attended St. Ambrose College, where he was a protégé of renowned artist and professor, Fr. Edward Catich. He later earned a Master's degree in Printmaking from the University of Iowa.

Chouteau was invited to teach at the university by Fr. Catich after he graduated and generously shared his deep knowledge and talent with countless students he taught in art and art history courses.

Terri Switzer, PhD, professor and director of the Art History and Museum Studies program, said prior to joining the faculty in 2002, she already had viewed Chouteau's impressive and extensive collection of art history slides. "When I later had an opportunity to meet him in person, I found him to be incredibly charming and quite modest about his work in building a love of our discipline among the students he taught. I still occasionally meet older alumni who speak very fondly of him and of the classes they took with him many years ago," she said.

Each year, the program recognizes its finest student with the Thomas F. Chouteau Art History Award. "It seemed natural to name the annual award after Tom, as a way of acknowledging and expressing appreciation for his hard work over the years, and as a memorial to his dedication to the field of art history during his many years at St. Ambrose," Switzer said.

Chouteau supported the university's philosophy and mission of social justice and equality for all. He served on the Interracial Council in the 50s and 60s.

President Emeritus Ed Rogalski '08 (Hon) PhD said his first awareness of Chouteau was while walking past his classroom one day and seeing the teacher demonstrate how to paint lines in painting depicting a forest scene. "I was so impressed I went in and bought it from him," he recalled. "Tom was an accomplished educator, a great artist, a devoted husband and a great father. He had a very quiet, gentle spirit and was generous by all measures in terms of giving to the university, to his students, to the community."

Tom Chouteau '51

1923-2018

Thomas Chouteau '51, a member of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty from 1959 until he retired in 1988, passed away Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Chouteau was invited to teach at St. Ambrose by Fr. Edward Catich after graduation and generously shared his deep knowledge and talent with countless students he taught in art and art history courses.

Chouteau was married to Mary Anne Springer for 66 years, and their deep dedication to the university was shared by their children, eight of which graduated from St. Ambrose. Five of their children married SAU alums, and several of their grandchildren also attended the university.

Two of their children, Becky (Chouteau) Pracht and Carole Anne Chouteau '82, worked for the university as switchboard operators.

A highly recognized artist, Chouteau was presented with several awards including the Riverssance Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He illustrated Citizens Second Class and the Rural Life Prayer Book, and he illuminated the Pacem In Terris Award.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 1, 2018, at Christ the King Chapel at St. Ambrose University. Burial will be in Holy Family Cemetery, Davenport. The family will greet friends in the gathering space at Christ the King from 10 a.m. Saturday until the time of the Mass.

Memorials may be made to the Thomas F. Chouteau Art History Award at St. Ambrose University or the Davenport Public Library

Read his online obituary 

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