Christine Koczwara

Christine Joy Koczwara

Saturday, May 19th, 1945 - Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
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On Monday, November 24, 2020, Christine Joy Koczwara made a peaceful transition at her home in Cookeville, Tennessee.

She is preceded in death by her parents, John Joseph and Sophie Ann Koczwara of Garfield, New Jersey.

She is survived by one sister, Sandra Koczwara Farris and her husband Dan of Cookeville, TN; one brother, Chuck Koczwara and his wife, Alane of Hardeeville, SC; and 2 nieces, Kristen Koczwara Dixon and husband Tim of Florida and Katie Koczwara Hatcher and husband Nathan of Florida.

Chris was a native of New Jersey and moved to Cookeville in 1972. She was a graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. She received her Master's in Art from William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Chris lived a life of passion and adventure fueled by her love of art and painting. She taught painting at Tennessee Tech University in the Department of Music and Art from 1972 until her retirement in 2009. She was nationally and internationally recognized for her talents and her work has been on exhibit in some of the most prestigious places including: The Archbishop's Palace, Salzburg, Austria; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD: The National Arts Club: The National Academy; The Salmagundi Museum in NY; The New Jersey City Museum, University of Tennessee; Nashville International Airport; The Parthenon Museum in TN, Owens Corning World Headquarters; The Air Force Museum and the Washington Navy Yard Historical Museum in Washington, D.C. Chris was most notably proud of the time she was invited to Vietnam to serve as the only USMC female civilian combat artist. Chris accepted a second invitation in 1992-1993 to serve as a combat artist and covered Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, Africa. She attended St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Cookeville and her painting of Jesus adorns the chapel. Chris continued to paint until her final days. Chris will be remembered for her kind demeanor, the twinkle in her eye and her love for teaching art to others. She especially loved beach trips to Captiva, FL and shelling.

A celebration of life service is being planned for a later date.

To honor Chris, memorial donations can be made to the TTU Foundation, Box 1915 Cookeville, TN 38505 to the Chris Koczwara Art Scholarship. Donations can also be made online at

Arrangements entrusted to Crest Lawn Funeral Home-Cremation Center.
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Pat Shaw

Posted at 09:46pm
To her family and loved friends -- my deepest sympathy to each of you on your loss of Chris. I loved Trella's artworks and will think of her fondly each time I look at them. May you each find peace in your memories of her. Sincerely, Pat Shaw

Carol Ventura

Posted at 05:50pm
Although Chris is no longer here, she left us with wonderful memories and thousands of exquisite paintings and drawings. Her award-winning work is in major and minor collections around the world and several of her paintings are in my home, too. Chris was such a loved professor, spending her life nurturing students and promoting TTU and the arts. What a gem!

Denice Taylor Rinks

Posted at 02:33am
I’m so sorry to hear of Chris’s passing. She made a great impact in my life. She will always have a special place in my heart as I know so many others feel the same. She was an amazing spirit who will be greatly missed. Much love and prayers to her family and friends. “ Feeling sadness...I just found out today that a very special friend, professor, mentor passed away. I was so fortunate to have studied under her and to have been able to call her a friend as well. If you were lucky enough to meet her, you will always remember it! She will be missed greatly. What an original gracious talented spirit. This is how I remember her and will treasure the moments she helped guide me with my art career and more!”

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