Yuma County, Colorado
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Arthur L. and Julia (Wilson) Howard, Happyville
This might be the Yuma County Betty:
"Fenton E. Kastner, who surrounded himself with the beautiful things he created himself and the artistic talent he nurtured in others, died at his home in Santa Rosa.
The sculptor, painter and former curator of the Achenbach Foundation, Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, was 92 at the time of his death March 21, when he succumbed to a heart attack.
"He was a very, very kind, very gentle man. Everyone who ever knew him said he was one of the most encouraging people they ever met," said Betty Kastner, his wife of 40 years.
She said her husband believed everyone had the potential to do what they wanted to do in life. And in the case of Fenton Kastner, it was a life always connected to art.
He was born April 30, 1915, in Lakeport and spent his early years there. The family moved to Santa Rosa when he was 5, and he attended elementary and secondary school there, graduating from Santa Rosa High School at age 16 in 1931.
A stint at Santa Rosa Junior College was followed by years at San Francisco State University, where he earned an art degree. They were skills he put to good use after his enlistment to the Army. While stateside, he painted logos as needed. But when he was shipped overseas to London, he became part of the medical corps, tasked with drawing life-sized bodies to enable the corps to train.
"It was difficult to teach the medics," his wife said. Her husband was able to provide the expertise needed to offer them something to work with.
Following the war, he returned to San Francisco to continue his studies. He ultimately took a job in Stockton at the Hagen Museum and Art Gallery, where he met his future bride.
He hired her at the museum after she applied to be a registrar. Together they would return to the Bay Area, to Healdsburg for a time on a prune ranch and later back to San Francisco when he became interim curator and later curator at the Legion of Honor in 1965.
During his time there, he took great pleasure in nurturing young artists. He showcased local artists and called it the most fulfilling work of his career.
He retired in 1978, and the couple moved to St. Helena. The floods of 1986 forced them from their home, and they returned to Santa Rosa in retirement.
"He was as a painter very much influenced by Picasso," Betty Kastner said, also noting the influence of color in his work. "His whole way of looking at things was color. He painted up to the day he passed away. And his colors became more brilliant."
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brother, Curtis Kastner of Canyonville, Ore., and many nieces and nephews.
A private celebration of his life will be held later."
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