Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

“RJ” Ron Karlstrom

“RJ” Ron Karlstrom, 63, of Champaign passed away Wednesday, May 7, 2014. He was born on November 17, 1950, in Champaign, Illinois.

RJ studied at Parkland College, where he was editor of the student newspaper. He candlelater earned a bachelor’s degree in Painting and Printmaking from Eastern Illinois University.

He worked in Chicago as a designer/art director for many years before returning back to Champaign in 2000. He had a studio in the Lincoln Building and was very active in the downtown arts scene. His passion for the Arts let him to create the Monday Evening Life Drawing group at McGown Photography.

Mr. Karlstrom’s paintings have been featured in galleries, bars and restaurants in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Union Pier and Buffalo, MI as well as Asheville, NC were also some of his favorite locations for shows.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Doris Karlstrom, of Champaign, Illinois. He is survived by two brothers, Scott and Kirk (Pam) Karlstrom, one niece Krista (Clayton) Overstreet, one nephew, Kai Karlstrom and one great niece, Caitlin Overstreet.

Visitation will be at Grace Lutheran Church, 313 South Prospect, Champaign, Ill., Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m., immediately followed by the service at 2 p.m.

Memorials can be made 240 North Champaign County Arts Council.

Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm, Champaign, is assisting with arrangements.

Condolences may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.


Dear Family Members of The Karlstrom Family,

On behalf of the artists who attended the Monday Evening Life Drawing sessions (MELD) organized by Ron over the years, we want to send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to let you know just how much we appreciated him as both a skilled artist and a thoughtful and active member of the local arts community.

His contributions to his fellow artists matched his artistic contributions to painting.

He will be sorely missed.

We intend to endeavor to continue the Life Drawing Group in his honor. Meanwhile we wish you all can find comfort among the friends and family around you at this sad time.

Yours sincerely,

Rosalind Faiman Weinberg
(Urbana painter and printmaker and member of MELD)


Dear Karlstrom Family,

With deep respect I send my condolences to you in recognition of Ron’s passing.
I knew him as a marvelously complicated soul, full of humor, satire, and tremendous good heart.

As a stranger to Champaign in 2008, he welcomed me to the drawing sessions for MELD, encouraging my participation and presence. After three years of drawing together, I came to understand what a fine human he was, talented and respectful in a broad sensitive manner.

His commitment to his art and that of others was admirable, always watchful and
inclusive. That is a rare quality and Ron was consistently helpful to one and all.

I will miss him and mourn his passing.

My loving thoughts are with you all.


Wesley (Sue) Anne Cook