Michael Jung, 86, passed away on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at Otterbein Senior Life in Granville, Ohio. Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on October 27, 1935, to Otto A. Jung and Silvia Van de Loo Jung, he lived most of his life in Granville, Ohio. Michael was known for his prodigious artistic creativity, love of travel (he visited 58 countries), kind heart, deep soul, and dry wit.
Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Denison University, where he was a Cora Whitcomb Shepardson Scholar and received a Clara Hudson King Memorial Award. During freshman year, he met his future wife, Marilyn. As the story goes, Michael spotted Marilyn on campus and called her on the phone asking whether they could date. Marilyn responded, “I don’t know you,” and he replied, “I’ll be right down.”
After college, Michael served for three years in the U.S. Navy, first as Ensign and then as Lieutenant JG, and toured the Pacific on the USS El Dorado. On 18 June 1960, he and Marilyn got married and by 1962, they welcomed a daughter and twin sons. Michael earned two master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.S. 1963 and M.F.A. 1964). After a teaching position at Western Kentucky University, Michael got an offer from Denison University where he taught for nearly 35 years (1967-2001) and served several times as Chair of the Art Department and Director of the Denison Art Gallery (now the Denison Museum).
Michael was admired by faculty and students. Eric Hirshler, former Art History professor, wrote that “Michael Jung lives his profession every minute. There hardly was a time when I did not see him drawing or doing watercolor or keeping his mind and hand busy with assemblage. He is the most dedicated artist and teacher with whom I have been in contact and I believe the key person in the studio arts at Denison.” Former student Gail Lutsch wrote that he “was always a kind and patient teacher who never intimidated the uncertain or struggling art student but rather encouraged artistic production with constructive criticism and a sense of humor.”
Michael worked in a variety of visual media - painting, watercolor, drawing, silverpoint, pastel, assemblage, photography, film - and was known chiefly for his interpretive paintings that often reflected his travels. He was an award-winning painter and filmmaker and showed his work in more than 30 one-man shows in galleries across the country, including La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, the Milwaukee Art Center, the Gilman Gallery in Chicago, and the Lee Nordness Gallery in New York City. Michael was recognized for the excellence of his work with numerous awards, including the Madison Art Association Award, the Sachs Award, and (for two consecutive years) Best in Show of Contemporary Southern Art. Other career highlights included serving as principal investigator at the Sirmium archeological dig in Yugoslavia and restoring the ceiling fresco of the Licking County Court House. After retirement, Michael continued creating art at his studio on the shores of Lake Hudson.
Michael provided his family wonderful opportunities for education and travel. During sabbaticals, the family travelled in Europe and spent a year (1973-74) in Central and South America, which began with a long drive from Ohio to Panama in a Peugeot station wagon and included a month-long stay on the San Blas Islands where Michael filmed Cuna Indian rites. Especially memorable were summer times at the Michigan cottage, winter stays in Cedar Key, Florida, trips to Costa Rica, Nepal, and Bhutan, and a 50th wedding anniversary celebration on St. John Island. Though a quiet and private person, life was an adventure with Michael, full of memories, one-liners, complexity, and love.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marilyn Berger Jung, and his children Robin E. Jung Brown with husband Greig L. Brown and son Jack C. Brown; Timothy M. Jung with partner Erika R. Felix and sons Sebastian A. Jung and Tristan W. Jung; and Stephen M. Jung with wife Elizabeth K. King and sons Carson T. Jung and Davis M. Jung. He is also survived by his sisters Elizabeth Talley and Virginia Bench and sister-in-law Eleanor Jung. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Otto Henry Jung.
A family graveside ceremony in Welsh Hills Cemetery, Granville, Ohio, will be held in November.