Dr. W. Robert Nix

April 20, 1934November 22, 2019

Dr. W. Robert Nix, 85, of Athens, GA, passed away on Friday, November 22, 2019, of complications related to a blood disorder.

Dr. Nix was born on April 20, 1934 in North Vernon, Indiana, the son of Lawrence A. Nix and Hazel White Nix. He grew up on his family's farm near Temple, GA, where his father and mother were school teachers and his father was a minister. He graduated from Buchanan High School in Buchanan, GA in 1950. He began college at West Georgia College in Carrollton. He then moved to Athens and began his lifelong association with The University of Georgia, where he earned a B.S. degree in 1954, an M.A. Ed. in 1955, an Ed. S. in 1963, and an Ed. D. in 1968. It was at the university that he met his wife, the late Harriett Ann Hoard Nix, while they were both students in the Art Department. They married in Atlanta, Georgia on June 21, 1956, and were married for more than 59 years until her death in October of 2015. Dr. and Mrs. Nix had two children.

Dr. Nix's passions were many. He was a multi-talented artist, excelling in photography, painting, sculpture, jewelry, and wood working. He also curated exhibits of other artists' work, helped with the preparation of numerous books, and served the artistic community on a local, regional, and national level. He was passionate about teaching. He taught art in the Clarke County School District from 1956-1968, eventually becoming the Art Supervisor for the district. He then joined the faculty of the Art Department at The University of Georgia, where he taught from 1968-2001. He was chairman of the Art Education area from 1974-1996, and taught classes in both Art Education and Photography. He was the 1979 Beaver Award winner for Excellence in Teaching, the General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professor from 1982-1984, and The Josiah Meigs Award Winner for Excellence in Teaching in 1989. He was and is revered as a long-term mentor of former students and fellow artists. He was also deeply involved with the First Christian Church of Athens, where he served as an elder, taught a Sunday School class for decades, and served on the church board.

Dr. Nix is survived by his two sons, David Thomas Nix of Athens and John Paul Nix of San Antonio, Texas; John's wife, Catherine; an 'adopted daughter' from Kenya, Zarina Maude Wafula; a grandson, Adam Robert Nix; a brother, Eugene Nix; a sister, Joan Sheppard; four sisters-in-law, Helen Pulaski, Kathy Hoard, Ruth Nix, and Anne Nix; and numerous nieces and nephews. Dr. Nix's sons would like to extend a special thanks to the many members of First Christian Church and to Joyce Mullabu and Millicent Khasiani for their love, friendship, and faithful support of their father and mother.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 27 at the First Christian Church of Athens, 268 W. Dougherty Street, with visitation at 1 pm, service at 2 pm, and interment soon afterwards at Oconee Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to two awards benefiting Art Education students at The Lamar Dodd School of Art at The University of Georgia: The W. Robert Nix Art Education Award or The W. Robert Nix Award of Excellence in Art Education.

Bernstein Funeral Home of Athens is handling the arrangements.


  • David Thomas Nix, Son
  • John Paul Nix (Catherine), Son
  • Zarina Maude Wafula, Daughter
  • Adam Robert Nix, Grandson
  • Eugene Nix, Brother
  • Joan Sheppard, Sister
  • Helen Pulaski, Sister-in-law
  • Kathy Hoard, Sister-in-law
  • Ruth Nix, Sister-in-law
  • Anne Nix, Sister-in-law
  • Dr. Nix is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and many friends, which include, members of First Christian Church, Joyce Mullabu and Millicent Khasiani.

  • The Lamar Dodd School of Art at UGA
  • The W. Robert Nix Education Award
  • The W. Robert Nix Award of Excellence in Art Education


  • A Gathering of Family and Friends

    Wednesday, November 27, 2019

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, November 27, 2019

  • Burial

    Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Dr. W. Robert Nix

have a memory or condolence to add?

Laurie Frederick Schrader

November 3, 2020

Dr. Nix was magic.
He could look into a student's eyes and see right through to the soul. With a few words or a smile, he gave us, in the art department what we needed most. It was a gift.
I graduated in 1985 and have thought about him time and again through the passings years.
The thoughts always bring a smile to my face and a warm feeling of love and appreciation for having known him.
Rest in peace

Michaela Oberlaender

December 23, 2019

Dr. Nix was an incredible art educator! His course was the single most practical class that my husband, the artist and teacher Kevin Grass, and I took while we were in grad school at UGA. In our first year of teaching, I think every dinner included a conversation about how Dr. Nix's class applied to the real-life teaching experiences we were having! I am so glad Dr. Nix stayed in touch and that I got to email him and tell him how much his teaching had meant to us. He passed the torch and I hope he will be proud of how we are carrying on his legacy. Rest in peace. You were much loved!

Betsy Gandy

December 1, 2019


Thank you for sending me this . . . Dr. Nix was my boss for almost two years when I was a graduate Art History student working in the department's slide library. We only saw each other a couple of times after I graduated, but I will always have fond memories of him as a great boss and mentor and even more so as a fine friend!

Betsy Gandy

C Olivia Carlisle

November 29, 2019

From my first two years of Athens High School art classes with "Nix", I treasure the techniques he taught, which I still use today, careful observation, love of the arts, God's gifts to me and to WR Nix. I remember the times I was sawing 18 gauge metal...constantly breaking saw blades...patient he was, giving me a jovial nickname: "break-a-blade-Carlisle." Later, when attending UGA - classes with a "Nix" colleague, Wiley Sanderson, I achieved through practice, much better metal sawing technique. Dr Nix helped my Mother with Daguerreotypes, cataloguing, taking and reproducing photos for her book, "The Bloomfield Family" Lines. When I returned to Athens, I enjoyed a number of visits, long talks of our histories, his kindness to others, his appreciation of my art and return to UGA; always encouraging. Thank You Dr Nix for your kindness, guidance, sharing your great art & photography expertise with so many! Peace, Love, Joy & Light to the Nix family and friends. C Olivia Carlisle

Richard Farber

November 28, 2019

He was the finest man I have ever known. He was my friend, and inspiration; he will be sorely missed. My prayers and best wishes to his family

Tom Hammond

November 27, 2019

We were colleagues and friends. His rapport with students and faculty was ideal and personal. I will miss him.

Tom Hammond

mara evans

November 27, 2019

Dr. Nix was a loved member of our family for so many years. His special, gentle way of making life so much better. He was my husband's (Lawrence Evans) closest friend and unmatched companion in their many photographic trips together. For more than 40 years he gave and shared all that life gives and he did it in his quiet and gentle way.
He will be so missed .
Good memories and love,
Mara O. Evans

David+Tammy Swann

November 26, 2019

We are so sorry to hear of y’all’s loss.We are Praying for each of you now and days to come. Please Lean on Our Savior for understanding. Sending Prayers,Love,and Hugs across the miles we pray y’all feel them.

Lawrence Evans

November 26, 2019

I knew Dr Nix my entire life and cannot begin to describe the impact this gentle and intelligent man had on me. From photography to knife craft, he was a truly talented yet quiet presence, full of knowledge (which he shared freely). My life is far richer for having known him, the world colder and more desolate with him gone.

Judy Stroud

November 25, 2019

Dr. Nix was one of my favorite professors from college. I received a BFA in Photography at UGA. He was so kind and encouraging. He had a wonderful manner about him.