|Jeweler, metalsmith and teacher, Frederick Lauritzen died of cancer at his home in Northridge, California on May 3 of this year. Born in Detroit, Fred was determined to be an artist. Soon after enrolling in a work-study engineering course at General Motors, he left to begin painting on his own. Despite lack of support from his otherwise loving parents, he became an art student at Detroit's Wayne University, paying his tuition with a Rooseveltera youth program. After World War II Air Corps service, Fred resumed his education, earning B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in painting and jewelry from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Later, on a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, Fred studied with Hans Christiansen at the Rochester Institute of Technology School for American Craftsmen; this experience nurtured his interest in Ecclesiastical metalwork and Scandinavian design values.
Fred began his teaching career in 194$ at the University of Wisconsin, with design, drawing and jewelry classes. He so enjoyed teaching metal that he focused on that area, and moved to Southern Illinois University in 1959 to start that school's metal department.
From 1960 until retirement, Fred was a valued faculty member at California State University, Northridge, where he developed an outstanding metals program and studio facility. Concurrently, he produced widely exhibited work, created etchings, painted and became a respected authority on the history and worth of original prints. Yet he was never too busy to be loving and attentive to his wife Martha and their children Erik and Lea. Fred believed that his best work just "did itself." Of the many honors his work brought to him, he most prized the student-initiated Distinguished Professor Award he received in 1971 for his superior contributions as a "teacher, counselor and friend."
While not all of Fred's students chose careers in art, they all received his special gifts: high standards of craftsmanship tempered with a deep regard for the individual's point of view. Whether in the classroom or one-on-one, he generously shared his technical knowledge, his humor, his delight in what the world presents to each of us. He is well-remembered and deeply missed.
- Carolyn Novin, Metalsmith, Fall 1990