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Artist John Thorns dead at 88





Local artist John Thorns died Tuesday. He was 88.

Originally from El Dorado, Thorns moved to Hays in 1944 to attend Fort Hays State University.

"In the history of the Hays Arts Council, he was there almost from the very beginning," said Brenda Meder, executive director of the HAC. He was president of the board, participated in special projects and fundraisers. He was very integral to the vitality of this organization."

He was active in the art and design department at FHSU. In 1969, Thorns suggested a regional art museum. Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art was built in 1981 with the completion of Rarick Hall.

"He brought the same finesse to the development within the university," Meder said. "John has always been a wonderful bridge across the arts in this community because of his passion and willingness to be involved."

His art also is displayed at Hays Medical Center through the Hadley Foundation Art Collection, and he designed the First Presbyterian Church building.

"His hands touched so many different aspects of this community," Meder said. "In the course of those exchanges and contributions, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone more gracious or more knowledgeable or more passionate about the arts in this community or university."

A full tribute will follow in Friday's Hays Daily News.

Funeral services will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church.