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An Extraordinary Life: Lemont man was gifted painter, giver

Landscape oil painting was lifelong passiArthur Garibay's according his wife Carol.  |  Phocourtesy Michael Raddatz

Landscape oil painting was a lifelong passion of Arthur Garibay's, according to his wife, Carol. | Photo courtesy of Michael Raddatz

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Updated: October 3, 2013 6:03AM



Mike Raddatz of Oak Lawn loved watching fellow artist Arthur Garibay of Lemont as he sat before an easel at local “paint outs” for artists.

Raddatz believes studying people while they paint reveals their inner selves.

“I was drawn to his demeanor, attitude and, of course, charm,” Raddatz said of Garibay. “I enjoyed watching this man lose himself in his painting. I knew what I was witnessing was a final chapter for Art but also something pure and beautiful.”

Landscape oil painting was Arthur’s lifelong passion, said his wife, Carol Garibay of Lemont. A high school art teacher had tried arranging an opportunity for the young Arthur to study in Paris but that never happened.

“Because he was the oldest son of nine children, he was needed at home,” Carol said. “He worked a part-time job to help bring in extra money.”

A mechanical engineer by trade and a Renaissance man in life, Arthur took his first step toward entrepreneurship by starting a mail order business from his home, with Carol typing introductory letters on a manual typewriter. He then designed a fiberglass CD antenna and opened a factory to produce it. Arthur simultaneously owned an electronics store.

His three children — Denise Werner of Addison, Bryan Garibay of Plainfield, and Mimi Campbell of Marseilles — worked at both places. Brian helped make antennas; Denise and Mimi worked in the office. All three stocked store shelves.

“He was so methodical that when he went out to breakfast, he’d cut his pancakes up into squares,” Carol said.

For many years, Arthur was a Will County deputy sheriff. He also belonged to an organization of Lemont law officials that hosted food and toy drives and visited nursing homes.

Wearing a beret, Arthur even taught art classes at the Romeoville Park District.

In addition, Arthur avidly read magazines pertaining to guns (he enjoyed shooting ranges), amateur radio and art. He learned to fly before he met Carol but never found time to pursue his pilot’s license. His garage held a Fly Baby, an experimental aircraft which Arthur had always hoped to restore.

“He enriched my life,” Carol said. “We did everything together and we were happy together. He’d know what I’d say before I said it and vice versa. He was such a giving person.”

When his children were young, Arthur took them camping in his 25-foot motor home and organized “Creature Feature” movie nights among the neighborhood kids. He and Carol traveled to Spain, Africa, Mexico and the Bahamas.

In the end, that legacy of love came back to Arthur. His grandson Matthew Werner, a practical nurse, provided live-in care for Arthur during his last several years. Arthur was 81 when he died Aug. 21.

“At our 50th wedding anniversary, my niece said to me, ‘You know, Aunt Carol, I saw the way you and Uncle Art looked at each other,’ ” Carol said. “ ‘You should write a novel about true love.’ I was his priority. He always took care of me.”

To nominate someone to be featured in “An Extraordinary Life,” contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-467-5249 or email artemis279@aol.com.



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