In memory of
DANIEL "Dan" T. MIHUTA, age 96 of Middleburg Heights passed away on Saturday, August 10, 2019. He was the beloved husband of Barbara B. Mihuta (nee Bright) for 66 years; a devoted father of David Mihuta (Teresa) of Savannah, GA and Laura Grimm (Philip) of Dalton, OH; loving grandfather of 6 and great-grandfather of 4; dear brother of Robert Mihuta (Helene, deceased); cherished uncle, art educator, Barbershop singer, Kiwanian, and friend of many across the globe.
Dan's art career began as a sign painter while serving as a Sargent in the 492nd Port Battalion in Guadalcanal during WWII. After the war, he received a B.A. in Psychology with Minors in Studio Art and Middle Childhood Science from Baldwin Wallace and a M.A. in Art from Kent State University. He worked as an elementary and commercial art teacher for the Parma City Schools for 31 years. He received the Master Teacher Award from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation that allowed him to study the art, music and culture of Hawai'i and Alaska. In 1992, he was awarded the Ohio Art Teacher of the Year.
At the end of his public-school teaching career, art programs with Dan as the talent were produced and shown in the Parma City Schools. Seeing the benefit of this format, Western Instructional TV of Hollywood, CA produced 96 fifteen-minute art programs for grades 1-7. They were called "Art Chest", "Art Maker", and "Return of the Art Maker". Programs were seen in 40 states in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Hong King, Micronesia, Indonesia, and four South African states. Some of the shows can still be seen on YouTube today.
He had a keen interest in music. He was a member of the Society for the Presentation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America "SPEBSQSA, Inc." for 69 years. He sang bass and was a member of several award-winning quartets. He was always ready with a smile and a song.
Dan Mihuta was the Pied Piper of the arts – get them early and you have them for life. Through his genuine approach and respect for the individuality of every child, he influenced thousands of Ohio children and children all over the world. He encouraged youth and adults to incorporate their creative side as a natural part of their life.
He served his community by being an active member of Kiwanis Club for 53 years. His emphasis was placed on children. He supported the Builder's Club and Camp Cheerful.
He was a man who served as a mentor, friend, and a role model for generations of children and adults. He conducted his life like he did as an educator: creating, sharing, serving and striving to learn.
His words of encouragement ring true, "Keep trying. Don't give up on yourself, keep trying. Don't consider a failure, a failure. A failure's only a step to success. You just find out what doesn't work, and take the next step, and the next one's going to be a success. Be sincere, be honest, and be nice to each other. Be kind to each other."
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to WVIZ/PBS ideastream. A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Boulevard, Rocky River, OH. Cremation by Busch Crematory, 440-842-7800, www.buschcares.com.
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