Charles Reisenweber, former art teacher


Charles B. Reisenweber, a former art teacher and coach who owned and operated a graphics firm, died Sunday at his Catonsville home after a heart attack. He was 54.

He retired in 1991 after teaching realist painting and printmaking in Baltimore County schools for 30 years. That year he opened Custom Graphics in Catonsville.

From 1965 to 1991, he coached football and lacrosse at Catonsville Senior High School, leading the football team to state championships in 1986 and 1991.

A former football center at Western Maryland College, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1961, Mr. Reisenweber was known for being an enthusiastic and demonstrative coach.

"He was known for bellowing to his players when they did something right: 'By God, now that's football,' " said his daughter, Kimberly Reisenweber of East Baltimore.

He also had taught art during the 1970s and early 1980s at Howard Community College and the Community College of Baltimore.

But it was his works as an artist and muralist, much of it based on local historical events, that brought him recognition.

"His mural in Union National Bank in Westminster, which measures 6 by 16 feet, is a reflection of the history of Carroll County and Westminster," Ms. Reisenweber said. "He also painted an oil of Baltimore Harbor which hangs in the observation area of the World Trade Center and visitors can compare the harbor to his work."

Mr. Reisenweber had recently won a cartoon contest sponsored by the Baltimore Opera Company, and his work featuring caricatures of "The Pearl Fishers" and "Tosca" will appear on the opera company's 1995-1996 season program.

"He was an excellent artist and was great at doing paintings of sports figures," said Joan Ostrowski of the Baltimore Opera Company. "He gave [me] a wonderful painting of Johnny Unitas in his classic passing form as a wedding present."

"He was a large L. L. Bean-type of guy who liked to paint and sail aboard his boat, September Child," Ms. Reisenweber said.

"Charlie was a raconteur who didn't need a bourbon or a vodka, his favorite drinks, to get going," said Rob Robertson of Columbia, a lawyer and friend since both were in college. "He was a great lover of history, and he could verbally put you in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg or North Point. He really made those events come alive, and it was this same kind of enthusiasm that he brought to his artwork."

Born and raised in East Baltimore, Mr. Reisenweber was a 1957 City College graduate and earned an associate's degree from the Community College of Baltimore in 1959 before attending Western Maryland College. He earned a master's degree in secondary art education from the former Towson State College in 1969.

His work can be found in many private collections and in the permanent collections of the Maryland Institute, College of Art, the Lacrosse Hall of Fame at the Johns Hopkins University and McDonogh School.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at Witzke Funeral Home, 1630 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville.

Other survivors are a son, Kurt Reisenweber of Catonsville; and his mother, Margaret "Peg" Bryant Reisenweber of Westminster.

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