Terry Redlin Students Give Artist’s Son Special Gift: ‘We will miss him.’

On April 24, one of the most famous painters of wildlife and Americana, Terry Redlin passed away. A little more than a month later, students from the school that bears his name, visited his art center. For the center’s designer, who is also Redlin’s son, it was an emotional one.

Near the end of each school year, 5th graders from Terry Redlin Elementary School take a bus trip to Watertown to see exactly who their school was named after.

“Everybody is named after historical figures. We have the man here. I mean, he was a South Dakota man,” said Terry Redlin Elementary 5th Grade Teacher Cyndi Underberg.

And like every year, they ‘met’ the artist through a video presentation and toured the grounds, but this time was different. Terry Redlin was now gone.

“Each individual child or classroom put together a whole bunch of cards and books,” said Underberg.

“Since he died, we wanted to tell Charles and the rest of his children that he will always be with you and that Terry was really good and that we will miss him,” said Terry Redlin 5th Grader Student Kaliyah Athey.

At first, the students thought they would be presenting their gifts to the art center. Instead, Charles Redlin, Terry Redlin’s son, was there to accept them himself.

“That’s really, really nice you guys,” said Redlin wiping his eyes. “Just looking through all them, going through all the different heartfelt things that were put on there, having so many of them and just the appreciation, yeah, that was emotional.”

“That meant more to me, that spoke of Charles and the Terry Redlin family more so than anything else,” said Underberg. “In some way, they (the children) gave back a little bit because he (Terry) gave so much to us.”

Having a school named after him, Charles says, was what his father considered his greatest accomplishment.

“It’s nice to see that this got built, see that kids from any school can come here and visit, enjoy and maybe be inspired in life as to what he had done and maybe follow in some of his footsteps one day,” Redlin said. “Now that he’s gone, the building is kind of becoming somewhat iconic. I mean, we’re dealing with an artist that will never ever be anymore.”

The staff at Terry Redlin Elementary also collected a monetary donation that was presented to Redlin to be given to the museum or a charity of his choice.