Artist remembered as quiet, helpful

January 19, 2013

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Friends remembered Cynthia Olmsted Body as a quiet person, but the art she created and the lives she touched while teaching her craft make loud and clear statements testifying to her notable presence in Granbury.

Body, 63, of Laguna Tres north of Granbury, was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday morning as a result of a head-on collision when the Ford sport utility vehicle she was driving was struck by a Dodge SUV driven by Rogelio Gonzalez shortly after 7:30 a.m. near the north end of the lake bridge on an icy patch on Weatherford Highway.

Gonzalez, 44, also a Hood County resident, was first taken by ground ambulance to Lake Granbury Medical Center. A hospital spokesperson said that later in the morning he was transported, listed in stable condition, to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

Deputy Chief Alan Hines of the Granbury Police Department stated that the Dodge (driven by Gonzalez) “was traveling too fast for the current weather conditions causing (it) to strike the east side bridge rail. After (the Dodge) struck the bridge rail, (it) then crossed into (the southbound) lane of travel and struck (Body’s Ford) head on.”

The facts of the crash are still being investigated, and no criminal charges have been filed by the police.

INNER BEAUTY

One of Body’s friends, fellow artist Rebecca Zook of Granbury, said she felt that Body’s paintings “are a reflection of her inner beauty and positive nature.”

Body’s journey into the world of art began when she was just 3 years old, she once said in a Hood County News article. After attending Texas Tech University, she lived in Texas, New Mexico and California. She had a frame shop and art gallery on the square in Granbury for 17 years. She sold it and went on to graduate from Tarleton State University (TSU), earning a teaching certificate.

Body established the first art department for the Boyd school system, grades 7-12, and taught art there. After that the Fort Worth native taught private art lessons. She also taught art to GED students.

Some of her paintings – labeled “A Lifetime of Painting by Cynthia Olmsted Body” – were featured in July 2012 in a display at the Langdon Center’s Gordon House in Granbury.

Zook, who serves as webmaster for the Lake Granbury Art Association, said that Body was a relatively quiet person, but she quickly learned that people could always count on her for help.

“She was truly selfless in all aspects of her life,” Zook wrote in an email to the Hood County News. “Her art students, both adults and children, loved her warm, encouraging nature. She took the time to write a letter and send books to me when my first husband died suddenly (in 2011).

“She touched so many lives in her time on this planet, and I hope she knew that she made a difference, made a mark on this world that won’t ever be erased. We are better people for having known her.”

Janice Horak, who was director of the Langdon Center for 14-1/2 years and now is assistant vice president for external relations at TSU in Stephenville, noted the Body was known for her peppers – in her paintings, that is.

Zook observed, “Brightly colored flowers or bowls of peppers were favorite subject matters. Her pieces make you smile when you view them, and the ability to add a little happiness to the world is not a talent that should be underestimated. Sunflowers will be forever linked not just to Van Gogh, but to Cynthia Body, in the minds of those of us that knew her.”

“Cynthia was a wonderful teacher of art to children, and that is what I think we will really miss, in addition. She was a leader in Granbury teaching, privately,” Horak said. “She got a degree from Tarleton in art education and she really focused in on educating young people. It’s a hard act to follow.”

A Celebration of Life service was held Friday at the Langdon Center Concert Hall. Body is survived by her husband, Michael J. Body, and daughter, Tiffany J. Griffin.

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