Alaskan artist leaves indelible legacy on local schools
You might not know Werner Stutzer's name, but he left a lasting mark on the Anchorage landscape -- in works you might recognize.
Stutzer, a talented artist, passed away on Aug. 7. He was 95.
Originally trained as a painter in his native Switzerland, Stutzer settled in Anchorage with his wife Margaret and their young family in 1959. He found work quickly as a sign painter, but within a few years started his own business specializing in murals.
Over his long career Stutzer painted murals on nearly every Anchorage high school, including the West High Eagle, the Bartlett Golden Bear, the East High Thunderbird, the Romig Trojan and many more.
But his work wasn't limited to schools. Stutzer's murals are also found in many Anchorage homes and businesses, including a giant rendition of Paul Bunyan and his ox on the side of Spenard Builders Supply. He also painted the Alaska Sausage and Seafood logo, which is still used today.
His work was often in the public eye, but not necessarily his name. Stutzer's son Fred said his father didn't care.
"That's a testament to the man," Fred Stutzer said. "He was humble. He didn't make his creations because he wanted notoriety; he did them because it was his passion. He just loved to be creative."
Many of Stutzer's creations have lasted through the decades, but some of them have not. Buildings and schools have been torn down or remodeled, and often the artwork has gone with them.
Fred Stutzer says his father also took that in stride.
"It was part of life for him; it was a natural progression for him," Fred Stutzer said. "He knew we all have our time, and that goes for his pieces as well."
The family is planning a private memorial service. Stutzer's wife of 64 years will also take some of his remains back to Switzerland.
Angela Krenzien contributed information to this story.
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