George S. Gaadt

April 2, 2022

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George S Gaadt, 80, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, April 2, 2022. He was born on December 21, 1941, in Erie, Pennsylvania to the late George and Doris Gaadt. While attending Erie Memorial Tech High School, he studied art under Joseph Plavcan. With Joe’s guidance and inspiration, George was galvanized in a direction that later became his life's work. He attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, taking a year off to work at Marx Toys in Erie, PA. After graduating from CCAD in 1966, he went to work for Federman Adams in Cleveland, Ohio; then transferred to Pittsburgh to work at Marini, Climes and Guip. In October of that year, George married Ann Stentz of Columbus. It was through John Guip that he discovered the picturesque Village of Sewickley, PA, where George and Ann were to move a year later. George's third studio job was at Pitt Studios before he began his career as a freelance illustrator in 1974. 
As a freelance artist, he was fortunate to have clients such as WQED, PBS, NBC, ABC, NFL, the Steelers Football Organization, National Geographic, Gulf Oil CO., USAEUR, Milton Bradley Toys and Eat n Park. One of the many highlights of his career was having his painting, “Last Stand at Fort Ligonier,” featured in “200 Years of American Illustration,” exhibited at the New York Historical Society Museum. In 1991, George received an Honorary Master of Visual Arts Degree and Alumni of the Year Award from CCAD, as reward for a career that brought his reputation as an artist and graphic innovator to the highest levels of his field. His son Erik and nephew, Tom Gaadt, also became alumni of CCAD. George was elated that both chose to attend his alma mater.
A lifelong passion for sports led him to a 25-year collaboration with the National Football League as an illustrator and Eastern Regional photographer. He was honored to illustrate two posters for the Steelers Organization for their 50th and 75th anniversaries, and also painted individual portraits of several all-time favorite Steeler players. In later years, he delighted in providing Steeler artwork and photographs to Art Rooney Jr. for his many personal postcards.
George also loved amateur and youth sports and was very proud of his Little League Baseball career and being City Champion in Javelin in 1960. A favorite sports story, aside from being pushed over by OSU coach Woody Hayes while photographing the Buckeyes at practice, is that he played high school football with Freddie Biletnikoff who later became a star wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders. But the most love of any sport came later when his kids became involved in soccer. George was always up for any activity with the kids. Neighborhood children would frequently knock on the back door and ask if George would come out to play- baseball, football, basketball, street hockey; but when soccer came along, it was a perfect fit for George. Through local, travel, high school and college soccer, he was an active and ardent supporter. He coached for over 16 years and even played a little indoor soccer himself. And he took great pride in being part of his daughter Liz's successful soccer career. 
Beyond George’s interest in sports, military history played a major role in his career. As a young boy to the present day, drawing, painting and collecting history were always his inspiration. He loved to research military history and attended several WWI reenactments as the battle photographer, traveled to Europe to visit battlefields, created military-themed artwork, and became involved with local veterans and their stories. George was a member of the Ohio Valley Military Association and attended many military shows in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. One of his proudest projects was to gather all the surviving members of the Malmedy Massacre in WWII to attend several shows for signing photos and to relate their harrowing experiences. He became an honorary comrade and was invited to many of their reunions. 
He has served on the boards of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, and the Daniel B. Matthews Historical Society, Sewickley, PA. His professional memberships include: the Portrait Society of America, the Society of Illustrators, NY, and the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators.
George, a master storyteller, was a rare individual who took an eager interest in everyone he met. He was forever young and had an infectious laugh that endeared him to many friends who loved to tell him jokes just to hear him laugh. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Ann Gaadt; son, Erik Gaadt (Tammy); daughter, Elizabeth Hatcher (Paul); brother, David Gaadt (Carol); brother, Thomas Gaadt (Judy); as well as cherished grandchildren, Clara, Finn, and Lexie; dear nieces and nephews, and all who loved him.
Friends will be received at RICHARD D. COLE FUNERAL HOME, 328 Beaver St. in Sewickleyon Saturday, April 30, from 12:00 - 2:00 pm and 3:00 - 5:00pm.
If you wish to make a donation in honor of George, please consider the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Sewickley Public Library, or to the Wounded Warrior Project. 

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