William G. Janik Sr., 67, plumber Maryland Institute, College of Art employee was self-taught sculptor

April 15, 1996|By Robert Hilson | Robert Hilson,STAFF WRITER

C William G. Janik Sr., a plumber and pipefitter at the Maryland Institute, College of Art who taught himself to craft unique sculptures using copper tubing, died Tuesday of leukemia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center after a long illness. He was 67.

Soon after he began work at the school in 1983, Mr. Janik began making sculptures similar to the ones he saw in the studios.

"He always took the position that he could do it as well as we could do it," said John Ferguson, the physical plant manager at the institute. "With limited background, he was able to make sculptures. He was considered a father figure here."

Mr. Janik's work was often displayed during school exhibits, next to students' work, said a sister, Loretta Lohrmann of Baltimore.

Mr. Janik was born in Baltimore and moved early in his childhood to National Park, N.Y. In 1963, he returned to Baltimore and married Joan Cobb three years later. The couple lived in East Baltimore near Orleans Street and Linwood Avenue, before moving to Towson in 1991.

Mr. Janik served in the Army from 1948 to 1951, then with the Marines from 1952 to 1953 in the Korean War. After his discharge, he worked on numerous plumbing and construction jobs before becoming a maintenance engineer at the institute. He retired last year.

Mr. Janik always considered himself lucky -- although he was born in what some might consider an unlucky setting, Ms. Lohrmann said.

"He was born right there in Loudon Park Cemetery 'cause he didn't quite make it to the hospital," she said. His mother lived with her parents, who were the caretakers at the Southwest Baltimore cemetery.

"He was always winning the lottery," Ms. Lohrmann said. "I guess if you're born in a cemetery, you've got to have some luck at some point." He once stopped at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and bought a scratch-off lottery ticket, she recalled. "He came back and gave me $25 because he said that if he'd win something, he'd split it with me ."

Mr. Janik was a member of the American Legion Post No. 20 in Baltimore, the Moose Lodge No. 1091 in Essex, and of the Army-Navy Garrison Post No. 52 of National Park, N.J.

Services are scheduled for tomorrow in Woodbury, N.J., with burial in Eglington Cemetery in Clarksboro, N.J.

In addition to his wife and sister, Mr. Janik is survived by a son, William G. Janik Jr. of Baltimore; a daughter, Barbara Lee of Mullica Hill, N.J.; two stepsons, Steven Nagler of Paulsboro, N.J. and Jeffrey Nagler of Clarksboro; three brothers, Joseph John Janik Jr. of Woodbury, Elwood Frank Janik of Warner Robins, Ga., and Harry Wilbur Janik of Gibbstown, N.J.; another sister, Pauline Mary Janik of Gibbstown, N.J.: and eight grandchildren.

Pub Date: 4/15/96

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