Last updated 7/28/2022 at 3:48pm
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Jan Greenwald passed away on June 27, 2022. His wife Rosemary and son Michael were by his side.
Jan was born Aug. 22, 1940, in Chardin, Ohio, moving to California at age two. He lived in Venice Beach and San Fernando Valley and graduated from UC Santa Barbara. He is survived by his wife Rosemary, son Michael, daughter-in-law Karalee, granddaughter Mabel, his daughter Ann and sisters Meri and Heather.
His son Michael describes Jan best, "I experienced Dad as a person who saw goodness and possibility in everyone. I think this was most evident in the time he spent substitute teaching at Fallbrook High. Often to the frustration of the teachers he was filling in for, he would spend time just talking with the kids, asking them what they liked to do, brainstorming with them on ways they could do those things for a living. Many of those kids were poor students, troubled, labeled 'bad kids,' but Dad recognized the good and potential in them and this sometimes helped the kids to recognize it in themselves. Dad would often be running errands in town and hear, 'Hey, Mr. G!' and turn to see the grown up face of a kid he'd talked with years before, and hear how much his time, kind words and attention had helped them.
His strong sense of integrity and commitment to doing what he said he'd do, to the best of his ability, rubbed off on me and has served me well. Those characteristics are also evident in all of his artwork... he didn't feel complete with a piece if he knew he could have made it better. It was difficult for him to stop sanding if he knew the wood could be smoother."
Jan was well known in the community for his exquisite wood art. The special urns made for Berry-Bell & Howell brought comfort to many families in the area. His work was exhibited alongside several internationally acclaimed wood-turners. He exhibited at the Del Mar Fair many times and he received 1st Place awards for Design in Wood from the Wood Turners Association and Best Turning by a member of San Diego Wood Turners Association.
A down-to-earth and deeply spiritual man, Jan considered wood-working a meditation. He was drawn to the roughest pieces and the most challenging techniques. He did not like to take credit for what he created, instead noting he was just the "in-between guy," the result of his work coming from his "silent partner."
Jan will be greatly missed by his family and friends and never forgotten. His beautiful pieces of art will live on, reminding us that we were fortunate to have had him in our lives.
Some of Jan's wood-work can be viewed online at openwindogallery.com