Cover photo for Joel Paul DeGrand's Obituary
Joel Paul DeGrand Profile Photo

Joel Paul DeGrand

November 16, 1944 — January 20, 2022

Joel Paul DeGrand, inimitable artist and cherished husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend, died on January 20, 2022, in the embrace of his wife, Amanda, at their home in Beverly Shores, Indiana. He is also survived by his beloved children, Colton and Anna Cara (Lulu) DeGrand, and sister, Kathy Cigola.

For five years, Joel met the challenge of pancreatic cancer with unremitting courage and grace, guided by his creative spirit and passion for life.

Friends and family knew him as an original thinker: curious, observant, authentic, and unique. He was kind, loyal, patient, and generous. Joel was an adventurer who traveled the world with Amanda. He was fascinated by space exploration, inspiring Colton's interest in sci-fi and technology. Joel found joy dancing to “oldies” with Cara. He loved his pets, watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, making a pot of his special chili, and enjoying a warm sunny day. Joel had a playful sense of humor and loved to make silly videos and speak in funny voices. He was soft-spoken, selfless, super cool and always stylish in his signature black hat and wardrobe. Joel had a quiet strength; he was fearless, relentless and unwilling to yield to adversity or the opinion of others.

These same qualities informed Joel’s long and prolific career as a visual artist, photographer and teacher. He was born in Kittanning, PA, on November 16, 1944, and graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1968 with a BS in Art Education. Joel later received an MFA in Graphic Design and Photography from the University of Oregon in 1973, where he studied with notable photographers, including Minor White and Brett Weston. During his 40 year career, Joel participated in numerous one-person and group exhibitions and workshops within the United States and abroad, most recently at the 2021 The Other Art Fair Chicago, sponsored by Saatchi Art. His work was acquired by many museums, corporations, and private collections.

Joel self-published 17 books of his photography and received numerous awards, including an (NEA) National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1980, which led to a 10 year photo-documentary of Pittsburgh’s evolution from an industrial center to an economically diverse city.

Throughout his career, he also shared his love of photography with high school and college students as a teacher at numerous universities and institutions, including 20 years as an adjunct professor at Columbia College of Chicago.

Some of Joel’s most unique and compelling work emerged during the last five years of his life when he embarked on new visual arts series, Iterations. The legacy of his exceptional and iconoclastic artwork ( www.degrand.com ) will continue to provoke and inspire generations to come.

A memorial service will take place at a later date.  Memorial donations may be made, in his name, to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at www.pancan.org/ .  Condolences may be shared online at www.cutlercares.com .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joel Paul DeGrand, please visit our flower store.

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