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McGilley State Line Chapel

12301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO

OBITUARY

Mark F. English

September 19, 1933August 8, 2019

Mark F. English passed away peacefully after a brief illness in Kansas City on August 8, 2019.

He was born September 19, 1933 in Hubbard, Texas, to Bernice (Bethke) and Jack Howard English.

Drawing had always come naturally to Mark, but growing up in Texas meant picking cotton in the hot sun. “I got out of the cotton fields by learning to paint signs,” he once said. “I chased rodeos and painted bucking broncs and ‘Welcome Rodeo Fans’ on store windows… I had nowhere to go but up.”

After graduating from Hubbard High School in 1951, Mark attended the University of Texas until he was drafted into the military during the Korean War. Shortly thereafter, Mark married his high school sweetheart, Peggy Ann Littlejohn, in 1954. Together they raised their children Donna, Stephanie, and John in California, Michigan, Connecticut, and Kansas.

In 1960, Mark graduated with honors from The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, with a BFA in Advertising Design.

After working at advertising agencies for the automotive industry in Detroit, Mark moved his family to Connecticut in 1964. There he began his rise as one of America's top illustrators, working with some of the largest publishers from around the globe.

Honors and awards came quickly and often. Throughout his career, Mark was one of the leading illustrators in the United States and abroad. His unique style was easily recognizable in such publications as TIME, Sports Illustrated, Redbook, Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and many other corporate and pharmaceutical publications. He designed 14 stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, movie posters and album covers for John Denver, Julian Lennon, and The Who.

In 1977, Hallmark Cards offered Mark an Artist-in-Residency to teach classes to its creative staff in Kansas City. It was there that he met his second wife, Wendy Buskey. They were married in 1983 and had two daughters, Emily and Sarah. Also in 1983, Mark was elected to The New York Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of such notables as Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Bernie Fuchs, and Jessie Wilcox Smith. He was one of the most awarded illustrators in the history of the Society of Illustrators.

Mark never stopped challenging himself, and his work never stopped evolving. He retired from illustration in the early 1990s to become a fine artist and successfully exhibited his work in galleries and exhibitions around the United States and abroad.

In 1995, he and his son John co-founded the Illustration Academy, a workshop offering drawing, design, and painting classes to skilled students and professionals. Now in its 25th year, the faculty consists of the very best illustrators, concept artists and painters in the US and has attracted students from around the world.

In 2001, Mark was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from The Academy of Art University, San Francisco.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Bernice; his brothers Jack, Robert, and Albert; and his sister Polly, dear granddaughter Anousha Shirazi, and loving grandson Austin English. His surviving brother Bill resides in Texas. He is also survived by his wife of 36 years, Wendy; children Donna English, Stephanie Shirazi (Ali), John English (Marcia), Emily Johnson (Ryan), and Sarah English (Michael Saldarriaga); grandchildren Rachel Humphrey (Scott), Matt English, Cailin Norris, Bella Shirazi, Max Johnson, and Ava Johnson; along with numerous nieces, nephews, dear friends, and countless admirers.

A prolific and visionary artist, Mark leaves behind a stunning body of work spanning six decades, but his true legacy is as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

A memorial service and reception will be held from 4 to 6 pm on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at McGilley State Line Chapel, 12301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO. Immediately following will be a Celebration of Mark’s life and work at Eva Reynold’s Gallery of Fine Art, 5621 West 135th St., Suite 2630, Overland Park, KS, at Prairiefire.

The family requests donations in Mark’s name to Harvesters (harvesters.org) in lieu of flowers.

  • DONATIONS

  • Harvesters Community Food Network

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, August 17, 2019
  • Visitation Saturday, August 17, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Saturday, August 17, 2019

Memories

Mark F. English

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Alain André Moreau

August 19, 2019

Along with Bernie Fuchs, Mark F. English was a great influence in the early stages of my career as an illustrator. I have always admired his very personal style and exquisite craftsmanship, a great artist who shall be missed! My sincere condolences to every member of his family.

John Dyess

August 17, 2019

I met Mark when I attended the Illustrators Workshop in Tarrytown ,New York in 1977 and enjoyed being with him, Bernie Fuchs, Bob Peak, Alan Cober, Robert Heindel, and Fred Otnes.
Several years ago Mark spoke at a Missouri art school near Kansas City which I and my illustrator friend Ted Wright attended. After Mark spoke Ted and I had supper with Mark and listened to him talk about growing up in Texas and his time he spent in the Army. I am about six years younger than Mark and we started our careers as illustrators about the same time period. I thought he was a humble person that was thankful for the opportunity he had to have a career as an illustrator. Good person and a great artist.
John Dyess

Ted Wright

August 16, 2019

Mark English was my favorite illustrator. I spent a month with him back in New York with the Illustrators workshop in 1979. He was great because he cared about young artists in helping them learn about art and the business of art.
Mark was so prolific and he has never stopped growing in his work. I’ve never known an artist to produce so much beautiful work. I’ve spent a lifetime collecting and enjoying his work. I will truly miss this one of a kind man and his talent. God bless Mark English and blessings to his family , wife and children. I am truly grateful to him for setting the bar so high and for being so gracious to all students of illustration.
Sincerely, Ted Wright
Ted Wright Illustration & Design.

Wayne and Carolyn Davidson

August 16, 2019

Wendy and Family, we are so sorry to hear of Mark's passing. Mark was certainly a master of his craft and knowing him for over the past 40 years has been a privilege. Our paths crossed numerous times with mutual friends and we are enjoying some of his paintings which surround us as we are writing this condolence.

Wayne and Carolyn

Anita Kunz

August 16, 2019

To the English family
My deepest condolences on the loss of Mark. He was a legend and an icon. He was one of my first teachers when I was a young artist. And I had the great privilege of teaching with him for many years later in life. I always learned so much from him. His loss is enormous both to those who knew him and also to the art world.

Anita

Francis Vallejo

August 15, 2019

Dear Wendy and the English Family,

I am so sorry for your loss and want to express my deepest condolences. I've gotten to know Mark the last 2 years while taking part in The Illustration Academy. I first met him over 10 years ago, but it's taken me this long to get over my nerves to talk to him much because he was such a hero and giant to me. Mark was a kind and humble man, and raised a wonderful family that has supported me in so many ways. His legacy will live on forever.

David Apatoff

August 15, 2019

A wonderful man and a brilliant, important artist. I got to know him through Bernie Fuchs and had the pleasure of interviewing him for an article, which is when I learned what a funny, charming man he was . Later, I watched him draw and paint at an illustrator's workshop, which is when I learned how talented he was, and how generous he was with those talents when it came to helping younger artists. I'm very sorry to see him go but he used his years very well indeed. My deepest condolences to his family.

Trent Slusher

August 14, 2019

Years ago while visiting Mark English in Liberty, Missouri, I noticed the beautiful irises growing outside his studio. I asked him to paint them for me. His comment was that he “didn’t like painting flowers”. Two years later Mark called to tell me that he had my iris painting! This is the gorgeous product of his genius. Every morning on my way to get that first cup of coffee I admire this painting and think of Mark and how lucky I am that he decided to paint flowers. Rest In Peace.
Jeane and Trent

Karen Kessler

August 13, 2019

I never met Mark, but when I was an illustration student at Columbus College of Art & Design in the late 70's he was an inspiration to all of us as to what a true illustrator could achieve. Rest in peace, Mr. English.

Roseann & David Copeland

August 13, 2019

Dear Wendy and family,
It is still so difficult to take in that he is no longer with us, but he will never be forgotten. He lives on in our hearts and in our home as we enjoy his beautiful framed prints. They serve as a daily reminder.
Our sincere condolences.
David & Roseann

FROM THE FAMILY