Full text of Tony’s obituary is available online on the greenbaypressgazette website
Anton (Tony) William Rajer, art conservator, teacher, humanitarian, from Green Bay and Madison, Wis., passed away suddenly of a heart attack on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was restoring a 4’8″ x 22′ WPA mural for Harrison Elementary School. Tony was born in Sheboygan, Wis., in 1952 to Mr. and Mrs. Anton Rajer (both now deceased).
He received a certificate in French studies at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Paris (1974) and then completed his BA in art history and chemistry at UW-Milwaukee (1977). Tony then went to the Churubusco Regional Conservation Center, in Mexico City, Mexico for a Certificate in Art Conservation and then was awarded a funded advanced internship for another Certificate in Conservation from Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge, MA (1987). He then completed another Certificate in Mural Conservation at the ICCROM, in Rome, Italy (1992). Through his international studies and travels Tony spoke five languages fluently – French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and English. He was an Associate Conservator for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, an Art Conservator for the Texas Conservation Center in West Texas, Project Conservator to the restoration of the Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, WI and Project Director for SOS! (Save Outdoor Sculpture) Wisconsin Chapter, a grant program supported by the Smithsonian Institution. The SOS! position resulted in Tony co-authoring the book, ‘Public Sculpture in Wisconsin: An Atlas of Outdoor Monuments, Memorials, and Masterpieces in the Badger State’ in 1999. In 1987 Tony began his own art conservation business for museums and private clients and he managed Fine Arts Conservation for 24 years.
Tony also taught throughout his career at UW-Madison in Continuing Education, teaching Introduction Art Conservation, The Business of Art, and Latin American History. Tony was a multi-year Fulbright Professor at the University of Panama in Art Conservation in 2002-2004 for the restoration of the National Opera House in Panama City, Panama. In 2005 Tony received a U.S. State Department grant for teaching in Malaysia. Tony volunteered at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks where he worked with the Red Cross and FEMA as he was working on the installation of a folk art mural at the Folk Art Museum in NYC at the time of the attack. Additional service to disaster communities includes New Orleans, Malaysia, and Haiti. Tony was a member of the AIC (American Institute of Conservation) and ICOM (International Council of Museums) as well as Wisconsin Visual Artists. He conducted a multitude of conservation assessments and worked with CAP-Heritage Preservation at various sites including Ten Chimneys in Milwaukee, The Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison and the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence University. Tony’s most recent book is ‘Museums, Zoos, and Botanical Gardens of Wisconsin’ through University of Wisconsin Press.
Tony married Christine Style in 2000 and was a loving stepfather to Sarah and Victoria Davitt. Tony referred to himself as the ‘art doctor,’ You ignore, I restore it.’ ‘You tear it I repair it.’ Tony was most active in his dedication to the preservation of Nek Chand’s ‘Rock Garden’ in Chandigarh, Northern India where he traveled at least once a year for well over a decade and was an active volunteer for the Nek Chand Foundation. Tony’s accomplishments throughout his career touched so many different communities in the States and abroad. His command of language made for rich and meaningful relationships. His love of humor, history and folk art developed through being a Roman reenactor, as a folk art auctioneer in tux and turban, and his numerous art history, conservation and disaster relief lectures to groups of all ages throughout the world His philosophy was to “look, listen, observe and recommend, always with an eye towards practical solutions that a team approach can implement.”
Anton (Tony) Rajer is survived by his sister Judy Meier (Ron), wife, Christine Style and her two daughters, Sarah and Victoria Davitt, Ruth and Peyton Muehlmeier, Pam, Steve Kitt, Cody, and Cassidy Doucette, Scot, Jill, Courtney, Lizzy and Christine Muehlmeier, Lyndsey and Jeff Glasner, and Daniel Muehlmeier. Tony was a registered tissue donor, allowing him to continue to generously extend life to others – through the Iowa Organ Donor Network. He will be greatly missed.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.prokowall.com. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, a memorial fund is being established.