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Anyone remember painter "Greg 0f Akron"?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HotRodPaint.com, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. HotRodPaint.com
    Joined: Nov 24, 2007
    Posts: 425

    HotRodPaint.com
    Member

    If you are old enough, you may remember this trade name, "Greg of Akron". He was one of the best nationally known painters of the time, and an incredible artist. The magazines were full of his work, on street and "big name" drag race stuff.

    I just found out he died last April. I know he kept working, but had moved to Florida. He recently was also doing some work for a leading bike builder. Age 66.
     

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  2. weez
    Joined: Dec 5, 2002
    Posts: 860

    weez
    Member

    Didn't he have an angle chopped full custom van?
     
  3. gkgeiger
    Joined: Nov 28, 2007
    Posts: 767

    gkgeiger
    Member

    I knew him. Met him in the sixties when he worked for Rick Case Honda doing custom paint work. He was a very talented guy. He did move back to Akron before he passed away. He lived in the Portage Lakes area for as long as I knew him.
     
  4. HotRodPaint.com
    Joined: Nov 24, 2007
    Posts: 425

    HotRodPaint.com
    Member

    The van craze was peaking then, and he did a lot of heavily customized vans....and he was great muralist, so that made vans a natural for him!

    As a young painter, just starting out, Greg was one of my heros. He was there in the national press, doing outrageous work!

    He was better than most of the "known" painters of that era, but did not stay in the national spotlight like some of the other painters we've seen on TV lately.
     

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  5. Remember his artwork very well.Without a doubt he was on the cutting edge.Sad to hear he is gone.Fantastic airbrush artist and striper.
     
  6. Ramblur
    Joined: Jun 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,101

    Ramblur
    Member

    That was Hoopers van,but they were friends so not sure of the whole
    story as I was still a kid when it was built. Still was blown away and
    forever affected by Gregs and Hoopers work. It was everywhere
    when I was growing up.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. 32rustedinpiece
    Joined: Nov 24, 2005
    Posts: 581

    32rustedinpiece
    Member

    Hooper Is Still In Business Today, He Just Finished Painting My 32 Coupe. He Is In Columbiana, By Youngstown Ohio. Still An Excellent Painter. He Has Done Quite A Few Projects With Us.
     

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  8. gkgeiger
    Joined: Nov 28, 2007
    Posts: 767

    gkgeiger
    Member

    Nice 5 window! You wouldn't want to sell it would Ya?
     
  9. Dino the weirdo
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 879

    Dino the weirdo
    Member

    One of my all time Favorites ! Him and 'dauber". He used to put little tiny messages in the murals.
     
  10. Rudebaker
    Joined: Sep 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,598

    Rudebaker
    Member
    from Illinois

    I remember seeing his work in all the magazines when I was a kid. Too bad, he was very talented and left us way too young.
     
  11. streetfreakmustang
    Joined: Nov 30, 2006
    Posts: 307

    streetfreakmustang
    BANNED
    from Ohio

    HiPerformance Cars mag circa '72-73 did a nice story on him complete with lot's of pics.
    Sad to see that he has died.

    Does anyone know his last name? He really kept it secret.
     
  12. HotRodPaint.com
    Joined: Nov 24, 2007
    Posts: 425

    HotRodPaint.com
    Member

    In one obituary, they listed his son as "Greg Pussehl Jr."
     
  13. streetfreakmustang
    Joined: Nov 30, 2006
    Posts: 307

    streetfreakmustang
    BANNED
    from Ohio

    Outtakes Around The Lakes; Greg of Akron (1940-2007)
    April 13, 2007
    By Frank Weaver, Jr. <TABLE cellSpacing=3 cellPadding=3 width=300 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD class=font11 align=middle height=25>
    </TD></TR><TR><TD align=middle><!-- GFP 300x250 --><SCRIPT type=text/javascript>GA_googleFillSlot('oh-green_ros_300x250');</SCRIPT><SCRIPT src="http://partner.googleadservices.com/gampad/ads?correlator=1204568898312&output=json_html&callback=_GA_googleAdEngine.setAdContentsBySlotForSync&impl=s&prev_afc=0&client=ca-pub-3269881829519502&slotname=oh-green_ros_300x250&page_slots=oh-green_ros_728x90%2Coh-green_ros_120x90%2Coh-green_ros_300x250&cust_params=&cookie=ID%3Dbba0637ab344bb59%3AT%3D1204568847%3AS%3DALNI_MZtlr6j7UwbZqfjF_emjiUNttj4BA&ga_vid=425670161.1204568554&ga_sid=1204568554&ga_hid=941675172&ga_fc=true&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thesuburbanite.com%2Fstory.php%3FsiteCategoryID%3D%26storyID%3D1479&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fsearch%3Fgbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26q%3Dgreg%2Bof%2Bakron%2Bpainter%26ie%3DUTF-8%26sa%3DN%26tab%3Diw&lmt=1204568904&dt=1204568904781&cc=100&u_h=1024&u_w=1280&u_ah=994&u_aw=1280&u_cd=32&u_tz=-300&u_his=5&u_java=true&u_nplug=0&u_nmime=0"></SCRIPT><IFRAME id=google_ads_iframe_oh-green_ros_300x250 style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px" marginWidth=0 marginHeight=0 src="about:blank" frameBorder=0 width=300 scrolling=no onload=_GA_googleAdEngine.syncAdSlotLoaded(this); height=250 allowTransparency></IFRAME>
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Rare it is to find a person in life who was genuinely loved by so many that his life left an indelible mark on their memories. But that was Greg "Grego" of Akron.

    It was during a celebration of his life, held at the Rose Villa Restaurant last Wednesday, that Bill Allen, the unofficial "mayor" of the Portage Lakes called the late Grego "an icon."

    Celebrated by more than 250 of his family and friends, included my wife, Peggy, and me, Allen added, that Grego was a true friend here at the Portage Lakes. "We will all deeply miss his artistic masterpieces of which many are on display around the Portage Lakes area," said Allen who had visited him at the hospital the day before his untimely demise.

    Greg of Akron was one of those friendly, pleasant, congenial individuals who had such a magnetic personality that his charisma alone drew people to him. Grego loved his art. He relished in his chosen profession, treasured his ability to make and sing beautiful music and cherished even more these Portage Lakes that he called home and its people.

    At about the age when most of us look forward to retirement, there are others who slip by these sometimes disagreeable bonds on earth and successfully pass on into the hereafter. While in a struggle to survive and continue living, the inevitable won out as Grego left us all and started a new adventure…one in which each and every one of us at sometime or another will also face.

    In an interview for this column a few years ago, I asked how he acquired his unique moniker. He said many years ago a national car magazine was doing a story on custom painted vans, trucks and motorcycles and it included his work. Somehow the writer misplaced his surname and identified him simply as "Greg of Akron." In time, those who had read the article started calling him the same and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Once Grego saw the Portage Lakes, he became a permanent fixture here. He was born June 22, 1940 to Frederick and Kathryn Pussehl in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He passed away in the Intensive Care Unit of Barberton's Citizens' Hospital on Thursday, April 5, 2007 at the age of 66 years, 9 months and 14 days.

    Known throughout the area as an accomplished artist, Greg painted beautiful murals on custom vehicles, vans and motorcycles. His artwork made him famous throughout the nation with the bulk of his celebrity status earned from work he finished here in the Eastern and Midwestern states as well as in Florida. His murals on the outside of buildings spoke much of his talent and artistic skills. Although he painted so many more, two that immediately come to mind are the former Maroon Saloon, a home on the Iron Channel (Lover's Lane) in the 1980s that was once owned by Bob Neidert and Kerry Campbell and more recently the outside of the former Young's restaurant facing Manchester Road.

    According to Neidert, he had hired Grego to paint the mural of a nautical scene on the outside wall facing the Iron Channel. "I wasn't home at the time he began but I left a bottle of Crown Royal with my neighbor, Lola, and ask her to include a bucket of ice and a glass," Neidert said.

    Lola did, adding that this was from Neidert "…just in case you get thirsty," she said.

    "The mural was finished in a week," Neidert said, laughing as he reminisced.

    So many of his murals included scenes from nature, especially sunsets over bodies of water. "Greg always said that as long as God made sunsets, I’ll paint them beautifully," friend Kathleen Mitchell said.

    Longtime Portage Lakes residents, Steve and Shirley Mervosh, who knew Grego as well as any, said he was "a unique individual who truly enjoyed the lakes and his many friends. He enjoyed life and having a good time. Grego created beauty through his paintings and will be missed."

    Beside outside murals, his artistic talents also covered the walls inside of private homes and businesses. "Grego was a good friend and the mural that he painted in our house will remind us of his friendship every time we look at it," commented Mike Piekarski of Rex Lake Drive.

    Judie Snivley added, "Greg painted a scene for us which has a special place in our living room. We'll always remember him and we'll never remove it."

    Her husband, Bill Allen Snivley, the 1950s rock and roll recording artist, emceed the celebration and included his rendition of` "Rusty Old Halo" followed by "Swing Low Sweet Chariot."

    "Greg was a tourist attraction," said Bill Snivley adding that he was one of the brightest stars in a community of stars. "The sky's going to be a little darker without him," he said. "Look up. You'll see."

    Greg of Akron leaves a son, Greg (Bridget) Pussehl and sisters, Mary (Jim) Natalli, Judy (Jack) Betts and Andrea Skillcorn of Solon. Besides nieces and nephews he also leaves behind two grandchildren, Connor and Cameron.

    Grego's three sisters joined in the praise of their late brother. Beginning with, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters…," Mary of Sagamore Hills read the Old Testament's 23rd psalm.

    Judy of Missouri added the Old Testament's third chapter of Ecclesiastes, that begins, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die;…"

    Andrea said her brother was more than a brother. "He was one of a kind and they broke the mold when he was born. He was not just a brother. He was a true friend."

    Grego's son, Greg Pussehl, Jr. was so overcome with emotion at the passing of his father it was all he could do just to utter a few words. The only child from California was too weighed down with grief.

    Anna Fana, owner of the Rose Villa Restaurant offered the facilities for the celebration. "Grego was my friend. He came here almost every evening to have supper with me," said the widow who is helping with the care of a son after he was badly injured in a car accident some years ago. "His supper was almost always the same thing, a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of hot soup," she said.

    "Grego created these paintings on wood that are hanging on the walls," she added, "and also the glass etching in the front dining room."

    In the bar is a glass mirror on the side wall. Etched in beautiful script and then painted by Grego are the words, "Domenic's Rose Villa Restaurant."

    Joyce Leighton, owner of Leighton's Boat House and a recent widow, said, "He sure had a way of making you feel special, no matter how old you were."

    "Grego had a lot of heart and was very concerned with other people's feelings," Gary Sollberger added. "He always had time to listen to you."

    Grego's artistic talents did not just cover his love for painting custom vans and wall murals. It also included music. To my surprise, I watched and listened as he played guitar and sang at a musical jamboree held in September of 2002 at the Akron Yacht Club. For as long as I've known him, I was never aware that he was musically talented.

    Eric "Big E" Whetzel, owner of Jack Rabbit printing here in the lakes, added, "As so many others have, I too appreciated his many talents, skills and abilities in both the fields of fine art and performing arts."

    Richard Kraska worked with Grego for most of the 1970s. "I could do everything Grego did," he said. "But mostly I did the cleaning, the sanding and the rubbing of the vehicles. Grego did the painting."

    Kraska then added that Grego said many times that "none of us are going to get out of this alive." He must have come to that realization early in life because according to Kraska's longtime girlfriend, Robin Nichols, "Just like Frank Sinatra, he did things his way."

    And he lived his life to the fullest. "Grego showed me some of the best times a person could ever ask for - good times, good places and most importantly, good people," Kraska added. "He's now up there in the 'Club' with Krimmer, George Cella, Mitchell, Fuller, Tommy Leighton and all the rest of the 'Lakers'"

    Greg's son, Greg, Jr. had the recording of "Might As Well Have A Good Time," by Crosby, Stills and Nash, playing throughout the celebration. When he was composed and finally able to talk, he sat down next to me. "My father was a legendary artist," he said, "who loved the Portage Lakes like no other place."

    The Santa Cruz mountain resident whose occupation is of the import wine trade industry, added, "He lived life on his own terms. He was loved very much by his family and friends and will be missed by many. His artwork throughout Portage Lakes is timeless and a legacy."

    Perhaps the sign on top the high pole outside the Rose Villa Restaurant summed up the feelings of everyone. It read, simply, "Grego - In our hearts forever."
     
  14. WCD
    Joined: Apr 15, 2008
    Posts: 1,712

    WCD
    Member

    I just came across this thread, but I must add my 2 Cents. In attending the major west coast drags (Pomona, OMS) or any place where the big name mid west door slammers appeared, I would hunt down those cars I knew to be adorned in a Greg painted car. His technique could only be appreciated up close becuase of the subtleness about which he painted his customer cars. Unlike west coast painters Kirby, Molly et al, who relied on bolder graphics, Greg liked to offer a whispy approach if you. He was part of my spectator youth. God bless him
     
  15. Sorry to hear of another icon of hotrod history has passed.In my youth it seemed every featured custom or van was painted by greg.I never met him, of course,but somewhere he was a part of my upbringing,Godspeed and best to his family.
     
  16. Tom davison
    Joined: Mar 15, 2008
    Posts: 5,431

    Tom davison
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    Sorry to hear that. I only knew his name. SFM, thanks for sharing that memorial.
     
  17. KARL WORTMAN
    Joined: Apr 13, 2011
    Posts: 15

    KARL WORTMAN
    Member
    from AKRON, OH

    I had heard that he got into doing etched glass work in the later part of his life. I also heard that he did the mural of the fishes and sea creatures that was painted on the side of Stonehedge Place bowling alley in North Akron. Not sure how much of those stories are true, but it wouldn't surprise me to know that those are factual . He was a very very tallented painter and artist.
     
  18. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,330

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

    Didn't he also paint Biily the Kids stuff,Vanke and Bobby Yowell's cars? Really neat stuff.
     
  19. I remember seeing some of his work at the 1975 Van Nationals in Bowling Green, KY. Awesome painter! Sorry to hear of his passing.

    Jim
     
  20. Cooey
    Joined: Jul 24, 2011
    Posts: 1

    Cooey
    Member
    from Alabama

    I met Greg in 66, he was painting Motorcycles for Rick Case in Barberton, and was blown away by his talent. In the years to follow we became close friends, going to numerous car shows and "Van-Ins". Grego put his heart into every car, van or motorcycle he painted. As testiment to that, at the "Van-Slam 75" in Columbus Ohio, the judges gave the "Best Paint" award to my van, "Highway Hilton", beating his van "Flying Eagle". I have a cash of memories,thanks to Grego. Like the celebration and pig roast at the 76 Van Nationals, after winning the National Grand Champion for the second year in a row. Or the trip to California in 76 for the SEMA show in Anaheim with him and Gene Boyer in the "Eagle II", or crusing nights in Akron with Jack Forrest in "The Ceader Keg", Magoo from Vegas in "Magoos World", Grego in the "Eagle", and myself in the "Hilton". Grego also painted a motorcycle and a Datsun Z car for me that won "Best Use of Color" and "Best Laqure Paint" almost every time I showed it. There will never be another like him, the absolute best ever. Like his sister said "they broke the mold when he was born". Love you brother, and miss you like crazy..................jc
     

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