Falkler
Falkler

The images William Falkler captured in his paintings can be see throughout York County.

The local artist was well-known for his knack for painting scenes depicting everyday life in the county, from shoppers going into Central Market in York City to rural barns.

He was a painter of and for the people, said one of his former students.

"He had a huge ... popularity as the York artist," said Brenda Wintermyer, a fellow local artist. "The reason for it is because he painted the city and he painted the countryside and he painted the history of York City and York County."

Falkler died Monday at the Dallastown Nursing Center & Victorian Villa Personal Care Home. He was 88.

During his life, Falkler also taught the art when he owned the York Academy of Arts, which is now the Art Institute of York in Springettsbury Township.

Wintermyer, who has a studio in York City, said she was a student of Falkler's at the academy and two became friends later in life.

"I was always so impressed with him," she said. "He was always bigger than life."

Early life: Falkler, a Navy veteran of World War II, got his formal start in painting while attending the Maryland Institute of Art on the GI Bill after the war.

But a career in art wasn't immediately waiting for him after graduation. Rather, he sold insurance for Baltimore Life for a time, said his daughter, Kay Cochran of Bel Air, Md.

Soon after, he joined the ranks teaching at the York Academy of Arts, which he wound up owning for nearly 30 years. He was joined there by Cochran, who worked as an administrator.

In that time, Cochran said her father taught and influenced numerous budding artists from the area and beyond.

Outside of his artist's life, Falkler was married to his wife, Kathryn Falkler, for 65 years until her death at age 82 in 2008. The couple was known to travel to various parts of the world where Falkler would set up temporary shop to paint.

The couple had three children, Cochran; a son, William Falkler Jr.; and a daughter, Jackie Hirneisen who died in 2004; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, according to his obituary.

Artist life: Many of Falkler's works can be seen hanging in buildings and private homes throughout the country.

According to his obituary, he painted more than 3,000 original pieces.

Falkler sold many of his prints from a stand at Central Market and at the yearly Olde York Street Fair. He also sold his works from his home, Cochran said.

Some people would commission Falkler to paint their homes, much to her amusement, Cochran said.

"I once teased him that I don't know why people hang pictures of their houses in their houses," Cochran said.

She said her father found beauty in the scenes in York County and strived to preserve its history in color.

Art show: About 10 years ago, Falkler and his wife donated some of his work to the Mason Dixon Library in Stewartstown that depicted life in his hometown.

Those paintings, which are still hanging, were up when New Freedom resident John Walker, president of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, of which

Falkler was a member, displayed some of his own work during an art show.

"I was quite enthralled for my work to be hanging in the same vicinity of his," Walker said, adding of Falkler's work: "He did detail without painting detail. There's enough detail for you to know what it is" without overdoing it. - Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.