MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

August 21, 2012

Services for Joe A. Rector Sr., set Friday at Muskogee church

Services for nationally acclaimed Native American artist Joe A. Rector Sr. are Friday, one of his sons said Tuesday. Services are 2 p.m. at Lifepoint Church, 2200 S. 32nd St.

Rector Sr. died Sunday surrounded by family in Destin, Fla. He was 77.

While known internationally for his art, he was known in the area as a teacher, weightlifter, fireworks businessman and more, Joe Rector Jr. said.

“What a lot of people probably remember about him is he was a storyteller,” Rector Jr. said. “He would sit down and keep us enthralled just telling stories. We tried to have all the family be able to try to get here and be able to spend some time with him, and we’d sit around and talk about some of the old stories.”

Rector Sr., who celebrated his birthday Aug. 12 with family in Florida, started drawing at about age 5. He began by looking at comic-book characters and drawing them.

As a teenager, he began to study all forms and styles of artwork. Western art was his favorite.

“His artwork kind of transcended just the normal themes,” Rector Jr. said. “It was the inspiration aspect of it. He used to tell how his spirituality would come through. He’s got art hanging in countries all around the world. And there was a delegation that went to China that took some of my dad’s prints as gifts to the Chinese ambassadors.”

Rector Sr. taught at Alice Robertson Junior High and Indian Capital, teaching industrial arts.

Rector Jr., also an artist, drew inspiration from him.

“Myself and (my siblings), all of us are in some type of art in some capacity,” Rector Jr. said. “He was known for his art, as a singer and musician, weightlifting, teaching and business. All of us have taken some aspect of that.”

Rector Jr. said his family is grateful for the outpouring of support.

“They have really shown the appreciation of what he meant to them,” Rector Jr. said. “He said several times he wanted to leave as his lasting legacy that he was a good man, and we’ve heard that so many times in the last week. My son (Joe Rector III) said something to me that just summed him up. He said of all the people that he’s ever known, Papa Joe, as he called him, I don’t think he would have any regrets. He’s one guy who checked off everything on his bucket list.”

Reach Mike Carrels at (918) 684-2922 or mcarrels

@muskogeephoenix.com.

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