NORMAN — Sam Olkinetzky died peacefully Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in Norman. He was born in New York City on Nov. 22, 1919, to Isidor and Jennie Zuckerman Olkinetzky.
He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1942, served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945 and was stationed in England, where he participated in bombing raids over Nazi Germany during World War II.
He completed his doctoral studies at the Institute of Fine Arts, which is conducted by New York University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, then taught art history at Oklahoma A&M (now OSU) for 10 years. He came to OU in 1957, where he was a member of the faculty of the School of Art and served as director of the OU Museum of Art until his retirement in December 1983.
During this time, he also served as fisiting professor of art and humanities at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and Langston University. He was, for many years, an appraiser for state, municipal and private collections and a senior examiner for the Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums. An artist, as well as a historian, his work was exhibited in such places as the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim in New York City and may be found in many public and private collections. He was the recipient of the St. Gaudens and the Alexander Medals in New York and the Governor’s Art Award in Oklahoma.
Sam was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Nathan and Reuben.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Sammie Sturdevant Olkinetzky, a son, Jov Olkinetzky and his wife Reba, a daughter, Tova Olkinetzky, all of Norman; a granddaughter, Laurel Grace Olkinetzky of Anchorage, Alaska; and several nephews and nieces in the New York City and Washington, D.C., areas.
A life-long liberal, Sam was an active supporter of organizations protecting the rights of ethnic minorities, promoting animal welfare and protecting the environment. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather; an artist of integrity; and a strong advocate for the arts in education.
The family had a private burial Fort Sill National Cemetery in Elgin. They suggest memorial contributions be made to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Primrose Funeral Service, www.primrosefuneralservice.com.
Norman Transcript, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012