Cover photo for Richard J. DePeaux's Obituary
Richard J. DePeaux Profile Photo
1941 Richard 2024

Richard J. DePeaux

March 13, 1941 — April 7, 2024


“A Line as Beautiful as the Moon,Time is Too Narrow to Contain It, But My Heart Does So”   Richard DePeaux, November 27, 2000 

DePeaux, Richard J. 3/13/1941 - 4/07/2024, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, unexpectedly departed from his creative life on April 7, 2024 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was a Professor Emeritus of Art at Western Michigan University at the time of his death. Richard was born March 13, 1941, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the second child of Le Roy DePeaux and Jeanette Harriet Terrien. Richard is survived by his beloved wife Yoshiko Suzuki-DePeaux, his older sister Joan Clark of Green Bay, Wisconsin, daughter Gwen Carnegie, granddaughter Kylia Carnegie of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and grandson Owen Carnegie of Superior, Michigan. 

Richard was a math major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but his passion for science and love of art and teaching consequently led him to earn a Bachelor of Science in Art (1963), Teaching Certificate for Grades 1 through 12 (1964), Master of Science in Printmaking (1965), and MFA in Painting (1968). During these years, Richard was the assistant art director and acting art director organizing many exhibitions for the university galleries. He was the first founder and general program director of the Science and Humanities Fine Arts Festival, ranging from the fields of physics, computational linguistics, astronomy, art, and theater, to music. 

In 1969, Richard arrived in the College of General Studies in the Department of Humanities at Western Michigan University and taught there for twenty years. Later, he served as head of painting at the School of Art, where he taught art history, computer graphics, and drawing, and contributed to developing the School of Art. During his tenure at WMU, he invited and hosted over sixty guest-artists covering many fields outside the range of traditional art, including John Cage, Cristo, Edward Albee, Leontyne Price, Paolo Soleri, and Ivan Karp. He formed friendships with John Cage, Dan Sandin, Vance George, C. Curtis-Smith, Norman F. Carver, Yoshisuke Funasaka, Chun-Hak Oh, and many others who contributed to their fields of interest. On May 21, 2018, the Ninety-Ninth Legislature at Lansing honored Richard’s nearly fifty years of illustrious teaching by awarding him The State of Michigan’s Special Tribute, which stated: “he has been an inspiration to countless number [sic] of eager art students and touched many lives. His passion for art and his deep personal commitment to sharing this love with others have notably contributed to WMU’s reputation as a premier institution of higher learning. He is an example for us all.” Richard also served in the Western Michigan University Faculty Senate as a department Senator, and was a member of multiple committees, the Undergraduate Council, and the Executive Board. He influenced and mentored untold junior colleagues and understudies. He devoted nearly half a century of his life to the community of Western Michigan University.  

As an artist, the work of Richard DePeaux has been installed as Public Collections in well known institutions including, the Bavarian National Museum, Der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany), the British Museum, the Department of Music and Prints (London, England), the Lincoln Center, the Rare Book and Manuscript Collection (New York City), the Library of Congress (Washington D.C.), as well as the National Museum of Australia (Kamberri / Canberra), Kunitachi College of Music (Tokyo, Japan), the University of California - Berkeley, Yale University, and Harvard University. In addition, Richard’s work has been celebrated in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, including Sweden, London, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, as well as the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, the Walker Art Center, CERN, the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, and the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. He was featured in the July 1995 issue of the Tokyo Monthly Magazine, and was invited to speak on aesthetics and quantum mechanics at the 1998 annual conference of the American Association of Physics Teachers (of which he was a certified member) in New Orleans, Louisiana.  

Throughout his life, Richard loved to travel around the world, get to know people, befriend, and offer help whenever he could. He became a godparent of twelve different children whose parents entrusted him enough to care for their sons and daughters if the parents passed away. 

During his busy and intense creative life, Richard managed to find moments of peace and calm. Some of his favorite times to relax were having lunch with his beloved wife Yoshiko overlooking the traditional Japanese garden at the International House of Japan in Tokyo, watching the sunset together at his studio by the shore of Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, and observing nature's amazing beauties that change season by season.   

A Memorial Service will be held at the Western Michigan University Richmond Center, Sunday 3:00 pm, April 28, 2024, and a Memorial Mass Service will be held at St. Thomas More Catholic Students Parish, 421 Monroe St., Kalamazoo, MI 49006 Monday 10:30 am, April 29, 2024. Everyone is welcome to attend. To view Richard’s personalized webpage please visit 




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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Sunday, April 28, 2024

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Richmond Center for Visual Arts

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo,

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Memorial Service

Monday, April 29, 2024

10:30 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

St. Thomas More Catholic Church

421 Monroe Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49006

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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