In Memoriam: Thomas Francis Chouteau

 

The Oaks. Vol. 49. Davenport, IA: Saint Ambrose College, 1983.

Thomas Francis Chouteau was born on February 6, 1923, in Independence, Montgomery Co., Kansas. His parents were Frederick L. and Katherine E. (Dalsing) Chouteau. His paternal grandparents, Frederick L. and Adele (Cornatzer) Chouteau, were members of the Shawnee Tribe, Cherokee Nation.

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; NAI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Record Group Number: 75

Thomas graduated from Field Kindley Memorial high school in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1940. He served 3 years in the Navy during WWII as an air navigator with the rank of ensign. 

WWII Draft Registration Cards for Kansas, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947. Records of the Selective Service System, 1926–1975, Record Group 147. National Archives and Records Administration, St Louis, Missouri.

He did undergraduate work at Harvard University College of Art in the summer of 1949 and received his BA from St. Ambrose college in 1951, where he studied under Fr. Edward Catich. He later earned a Masters degree in printmaking from the University of Iowa. 

Chouteau worked for Boeing Airplane Co. in Wichita, Kansas in the 1940s, then worked as an artist-illustrator for the Rock Island Arsenal and was art director of Photo Art Engraving Co. in Moline before joining the art department faculty at St. Ambrose in 1959. He retired in 1988.

Mr. Chouteau was an award winning artist, having received the S.G. Rose Purchase prize and the Cal Dunn Transparent Watercolor prize for his painting titled “Bayou” in 1953, and the Sweepstakes Award for an oil painting entitled “The Trojans” in 1958, during the Quad-City Artists Exhibitions at the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery. He was awarded the MidCoast/Riverssance Harley Award in 2004.

2004-70, Davenport Museum of Art, Scrapbook 24, 1958.

He was active in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s through his work as a member of the Catholic Interracial Council. He illustrated the booklet “Citizen Second Class,” a survey on the treatment of African-Americans in Davenport, published in November 1951 by the League for Social Justice. 

Thomas Chouteau married Mary Ann Springer on September 22, 1951 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Davenport. The couple had eight children, including his son Tom, who was the Davenport Public Library’s graphic artist for many years. 

Thomas Francis Chouteau died Friday, August 25, 2018 in Davenport at the age of 95.

(posted by Cristina)

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Sources:

“Davenporters Win Top Honors at Opening of Quad-City Artists Annual Exhibition at Gallery,” Davenport Democrat and Leader, Nov. 6, 1950, p. 8.

“Autumn Wedding Is Planned,” Davenport Democrat and Leader, June 14, 1951, p. 13.

“Mary Anne Springer Becomes Bride of Thomas F. Chouteau at Morning Rite,” Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sept. 23, 1951, p. 32.

“Chouteau Is Awarded Art Prize,” The Daily Times, Nov. 25, 1953.

Brennan, Mildred. “Hundreds Acclaim Quad-City Artists’ Display,” The Daily Times, Oct. 20, 1958.

“College Adds Davenporters To Art Staff,” The Daily Times, July 30, 1959.

“Thomas F. Choteau,” Quad-City Times, Aug. 26, 2018, p. B5.

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