Alan Cober, 62, nationally known illustrator, visiting professor, Distinguished Visiting Artist

Funeral services were held Jan. 20 in New York City for Alan E. Cober, one of America's foremost illustrators, who served as visiting professor and Distinguished Visiting Artist in the Department of Art from 1986-96. Cober died Jan. 17 after suffering a heart attack while vacationing in Florida. He was 62.

His work was published in major magazines and commissioned by many Fortune 500 companies. Among his clients were Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, NBC and CBS. In 1982, he was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to create a mural in celebration of George Washington's 250th birthday.

Cober's tenure at UB had a great influence on the students who came through the program, the current crop of leading illustrators working around the country today and on the arts and design community in Buffalo, noted Kathleen Howell, associate professor of art, founder of the illustration program at UB and Cober's colleague.

"His students are among his greatest legacies. He brought the level of teaching illustration to a new high, and his students really responded," noted Howell.

Cober "was first a man of ideas, who then acted on those ideas to inspire/expose artists to the most exciting work, people, thinking available," Howell said. "What I found important is that someone so distinguished in his field-he had won over 300 national awards-was willing to give so much of himself to young people and make such a difference in their lives. He made education fun, but also demanded that students give their very best effort."

He was involved in lecture series for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and worked with the Burchfield Center at Buffalo State College, where his show, "Alan E. Cober, The Artist as Visual Journalist," was on display for 10 weeks in 1993. In 1987, he brought the national Illustrators Workshop to Buffalo and in 1990, he brought the Innovators of American Illustration here.

In addition to editorial and corporate illustration, Cober continued drawing, painting and printmaking over the years. During the past few years, he had worked in clay/ceramic sculpture and recently exhibited his work in Westchester County.

Cober's emotional essays on Willowbrook, the New York State Institution for the mentally handicapped; prisons, and the aged have been compiled in his book of drawings, "The Forgotten Society."

Cober attended the University of Vermont and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

A memorial service will be held in Buffalo in late February. The Department of Art plans to establish a scholarship in Cober's memory. Call 645-6878, ext. 1357, for more information.

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