With immense sadness we say goodbye to our visionary founder Jack Kehoe


Image by Claudia Smigrod

John Daniel Kehoe – “Jack”
July 19, 1927 – December 16, 2016

Athens, Ga. – John Daniel Kehoe, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 16, 2016.  “Jack” Kehoe, a native of Michigan, was recognized internationally as an extraordinarily talented artist, respected educator, and a true Renaissance man in every sense.  He was a wonderful father and devoted husband.  His dauntless character led him to join the Merchant Marines during WWII.  His adventurous spirit spurred additional travel after the war to Japan and other locations, teaching art at various military bases. After the war, he received his B.F.A. from Wayne State University and his M.A. from the University of Michigan. Kehoe went on to study at the prestigious Academie Julian in Paris and then further explored his artistic vision in his own studio in Rome, Italy, while studying at the Fonderia Bruni.  An extensive exhibition and public commission record, paired with works in private collections, demonstrated Kehoe’s tremendous skill and prolific work ethic as an artist.

Kehoe was a faculty member at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, teaching sculpture and serving as an accomplished administrator for more than 30 years.  During his tenure as faculty and Director of the Cortona Program, Kehoe was appointed to the University of Georgia Athletic Board and was a proud longtime member of the DawgNation. Later, he also served on the Lamar Dodd School of Arts Board of Visitors.

In 1970, he founded what was to become the pre-eminent international art program based in Italy.  Jack’s pioneering vision and extraordinary passion, created and nurtured the UGA Cortona Studies Abroad Program.  He directed the Cortona program for 20 years and continued as statesman and cultural ambassador throughout his life.  A historical and magnificent building was acquired by UGA and dedicated to Jack, now known as the John D. Kehoe Cortona Center.  The Kehoe Center is positioned high upon the Cortona hillside.  The structure, setting, and view overlooking the Val di Chiana is deserving, as it’s namesake, of elevated honor.

By establishing and fostering the UGA Cortona program, Kehoe generated what is now a continually strengthening international friendship and cultural exchange between UGA, the city of Athens, the State of Georgia and the city of Cortona, Italy.  In 1979, he was granted honorary citizenship by the Comune of Cortona, Provice of Arezzo, Region of Tuscany and received a diploma of full membership as Academician to the Etruscan Academy of Cortona.  He also received the highest nonmilitary order of Knighthood authorized by the Italian Republic when he was inducted to the very honored “Ordine Cavallerasco”,

“[Kehoe] was a tower of strength, vision, tenacity, fortitude, and love. He possessed so many wonderful qualities. He will forever be a model of strength for so many of us.” – Larry Millard, former Director, UGA Cortona

“Jack Kehoe has been a friend, mentor, father and teacher.  He is revered as a man of insight and vision, motivation and compassion to all of us at the University and community at large, both at home and abroad.” – Chris Robinson, Director, UGA Cortona

Jack and his wife of 56 years, Marilyn Mallard Kehoe have cared for and positively impacted thousands of members of the “Cortona Family”.  The students, faculty, friends, and extended ‘family’ are forever  to Our Visionary Founder  tour Vionary Foundertgrateful for Jack’s visionary stature, compassion, and devotion to others.  He is the original and will forever be, the grand “Capo”.

Kehoe is survived by his wife of 56 years, Marilyn Mallard Kehoe who was the love of his life, and their four children: Moira and her husband Mark Stovall, Danny and his wife Colleen Clancy Kehoe, Christopher and Martha, and eight wonderful grandchildren, his sister MaryAnn Harrington of Lansing, MI as well as longtime friend of the family, Anne Stephens.

Funeral Services will be held at the UGA Catholic Center at 11am on Thursday, December 22nd with a celebration of a remarkable life immediately following in the UGA Catholic Center Recreation Hall. There will also be a Viewing between 6-8pm on Wednesday, December 21st at Bernstein’s Funeral Home in Athens, GA.  There will be a private burial.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers a donation to the John and Marilyn Kehoe Scholarship Fund/ UGA Cortona Program be made.
Online condolences may be offered at www.bernsteinfuneralhome.com.



  1. Therese Oetgen Clemens says:

    Fond memories and a life changing experience in 1980. May the angles lead him to Paradise. RIP Jack.

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