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Donald Zolan

America 's beloved painter of children, Donald Zolan, passed away on Monday, July 20, 2009 at the side of his wife and soul mate, Jennifer R. Zolan in Scottsdale , AZ. Donald was “the people's artist”, a true gentleman of great humility, a happy and positive thinking man, and a man who cherished and loved his wife.

Born on August 11, 1937 to the late James and Margaret Zolan of Brookfield , IL., Donald Zolan's happy and idyllic childhood in America 's Heartland was his continual source of inspiration for his famous children and Santa Claus paintings. The love and joy one sees in his paintings are a sincere expression of himself and each painting rekindles a spark of nostalgia in each of us as the warmth and richness of his work touches the heart and enlivens the soul.

A fifth generation artist, Donald was a precocious talent who started drawing at the age of three completing his first oil painting by age eight. A graduate of Chicago 's American Academy of Art, Zolan began his artistic career apprenticing under the famous Chicago Illustrator, Haddon Sundblom.

As Donald's reputation grew as a distinguished portrait artist, his precious paintings of children earned him global fame winning the Six Time Winner of America's Favorite Plate Artist and 12 time Award Winner of the Collector Editions Awards of Excellence. His paintings today are licensed to 30 multinational companies worldwide including co-branding programs with John Deere, International Harvester, and the Collegiate Licensing Group. In 2008, he was accepted in membership to New York 's prestigious Society of Illustrators.

Donald's work had become a familiar feature in Parade magazine, the nation's most popular Sunday newspaper supplement.

Donald Zolan will be loved and remembered forever by his wife, Jennifer R. Zolan, who was his world, his best friend, and his partner in life for 25 years. Donald Zolan is also survived by two children from a previous marriage, Mother in Law, Florence Ivanoff, Uncle, Michael Ivanoff, Aunt, Loretta Ivanoff as well as cousins, Andrea Worley and Christine Edwards. He was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Zolan.

A former resident of Hershey, PA and Ridgefield, CT, Donald Zolan's funeral services will be held on Monday, July 27, 2009 at 12 Noon at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 212 Cocoa Avenue in Hershey with Rev. John Philip Kline, officiating. Burial will be at the Hershey Cemetery . Arrangements are being handled by Wiedeman Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society for Lung Cancer Research in memory of Donald Zolan. Donations can be made online at or by calling 1-800-227-2345.