Illness claims nature artist
By Sheryl Marsh
A local wildlife artist who produced signature pieces nationally and internationally will live on through his art.
Larry Chandler of Hartselle died Saturday at age 55.
Michael Schreck of Decatur, a friend and colleague, said Mr. Chandler is a great loss to the community.
“Decatur has lost truly once of its favorite sons,” said Schreck.
The men shared 43 years of friendship, which began when they were growing up in the Hickory Hills area of Southeast Decatur.
“Larry and I were best friends since 1964,” Schreck said. “His family and mine were the only two in Hickory Hills. We both were artists. We worked together and were each other’s right arm.
“We’ve lost such a wonderful, talented man. His Christian belief was the most important thing in his life. His family and church were so important to him. He was just a good all-around person.”
Arby Chandler said his father became ill with bronchitis, which developed into pneumonia.
“It was a short illness, just a matter of days,” Schreck explained. “It started as light pneumonia and got out of hand. One day he’s fine and a day or two later he’s fighting for his life, and then he lost his life. It absolutely overwhelmed everybody.”
Mr. Chandler and Schreck shared some painting styles. A year ago they were commissioned to paint a new logo for The Hartford Financial Services Group.
The artists re-created a deer emblem that had been existence since the 1800s.
They said it was one of the greatest challenges of their careers.
“It had to be anatomically perfect,” Mr. Chandler said.
He won state duck stamp competitions and gained international fame among conservationists for his rendition of the ivory-billed woodpecker that was once considered extinct.
Schreck said memories of his friend cannot be captured in a few words.
“There’s no way I could boil down 43 years of friendship to one thing,” he said. “He was a gentleman, an artist, a very good friend.”
The funeral will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. at West Hartselle Baptist Church.
Visitation will be Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home.
Survivors include his wife, Donna, and three sons.
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