PRIOUR, JR., JOSEPH DAMIAN (1949 ~ 2011). The following is an obituary for Texas state 3D (sculpture) artist Joseph Damian Priour, it was provided by Weed - Corley - Fish Funeral Home.
Joseph Damian Priour, Jr. was born on October 8th, 1949 in Corpus Christi, Texas and died on September 14, 2011 in Austin, Texas.
He was born to Joe Priour and Kathryn Bates Priour and spent an idyllic childhood with his 7 siblings on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and the family ranch in Dilley, Texas. After graduating from Del Mar college earning a position in their Hall Of Fame he moved to Austin, Texas and graduated from The University of Texas in 1979. He became very active in the social, political and especially the arts scene of Austin. He settled there, making it his permanent home and marrying the love of his life Paula Prater Priour. They raised the pride of their lives, Chloe, Stuart and JJ, on a beautiful hilltop ranch home in the Travis County Hill Country, where he built his sculpture studio and worked creating sculpture up until his death from cancer.
Life wasn't always a bowl of chairies [sic] but he considered himself to be incredibly lucky, and everyone else thought so, too. He was happy, and not ready to leave. He had so much more he wanted to do, but just living on the family hilltop with goats and donkeys and surrounded by family and friends offered a deep and comfortable satisfaction.
His sculpture, a product of his imagination as a child on the Texas beaches, became his trademark and he carved a niche for himself using glass as a water metaphor. His works were acquired by collectors from the United States, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, several Caribbean countries, and are included in many important private, museum and corporate collections.
His father's sacrifice through actions and words was a great one. He dismissed his own dream of his son having a conventional career path after resigning himself to the strong independent goals of Damian's dreams. Joe Priour is a very good man, and his strong and unflinching support and leadership allowed Damian the freedom he needed to pursue his creativity and the time to develop a successful career. And his children! Just about every waking moment with the three of them was a delightful exercise in holding to one's own inner child – an ability he cherished. Love for his family, including his 7 siblings, was at the top of his priority list. His mother Kathryn, the most loving person he ever knew, was fond of dropping little hints and hugs letting him know all was to be well.
Almost every step of his career came with support from Paula. He couldn't have been as prolific a sculptor without her willingness to shoulder the burdens of the mundane behind the creative life of the artist. His brother Eddie was a force behind his early attempts at growing the glass studio. But in the last few years of his life, his friend and studio assistant David Hesser played an increasingly indispensable role. While there are so many people who influenced his life, they cannot all be remembered here, though they live in the gratitude of his family. Camille and David Lyons of Austin and Jim and Jare Smith played a pivotal role in his advancement.
He always tried to have a little fun with everything he did, including the hard labor that comes with installing 25-foot tall sculptures of stone and glass that weigh tons. His friends were important to him and he knew the value of family and friends to personal and enduring happiness. Besides Paula and the children, Candice and Randy House and Pam and Mike Reese played a most significant part in his life. He loves them and owes a great debt of gratitude to them for being such gracious and loving friends.
Throughout his long and active civic life, he served in many volunteer capacities and on many civic boards, including the Austin Visual Arts Association, the Austin Museum of Art, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, The Arthritis Foundation, Ballet Austin, Hill Country Alliance, and the Hamilton Pool Road Scenic Corridor Coalition. He spent untold hours and years helping to guide these organizations, and in addition to his time, made many donations of valuable sculpture pieces to auctions and galas to help fundraise for the many causes dear to his heart. Toward these ends, he established and maintained the Global Chair Project, a charity whose funds are dedicated to the benefit of the arts, the environment and medical research.
He was an active member of the Emmaus parish and beloved friend of the late Monsignor Richard McCabe, and one of his crowning achievements was the spectacular artwork of the church's interior, to which he dedicated a year of his life.
It is the unique gift of the artist to be able to leave behind a body of work that continues to resonate, restore, inspire and edify for many years after his voice is stilled, and Damian was tireless in his efforts to be sure that his artwork was spread abroad for the rest of the world to continue to enjoy. Also surviving him are his father, Joe Priour of Houston and his wife Jeanette; his 7 siblings, Kay Holmes of Oklahoma, Mary Brunkenhoefer, Jackie Anderson and John Priour of Corpus Christi; Patsy Myers of Kingsville; Eddie Priour of Austin; Susie Sladecek of Houston; his three children, Kathryn Chloe Priour, Stuart Ross Priour and Jonah Joseph (JJ) Priour, and his wife Paula, of Austin. Predeceasing him was his mother, Kathryn Bates Priour.
A Memorial Celebration of the happy life of Joseph Damian Priour, Jr. will be held at Emmaus Catholic Church on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Global Chair Project, whose mission is to fund the arts, medical research and environmental causes. Log on to theglobalchairproject.org