J. Melvin Ziegler
John "Jack" Melvin Ziegler was born September 27, 1907, in St. Louis, Missouri. As a young boy in 1911 he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with his parents John William and Grace (Lewis) Ziegler.
J. Melvin Ziegler never married. He was living with his parents and listed as a commercial artist in the Broward County, Florida 1930 census. He had a glass/plastic eye. He moved sometime after 1930 and by 1958 from Florida to California (near Los Angeles). He died June 1972, in California, at the age of 64.
The following typed biographical note is attached to the back of one of his paintings entitled Pine Tops (1932) which he had given to his unmarried cousin Dorothy LaVerne Ziegler for Christmas in 1934. The little card was signed "Jack", but he signed his paintings “J. Melvin Ziegler”. The first portion of the note seems to have been written in the early 1930’s by someone in the ward where he was recovering after an accident. However, the latter portion mentions the death of his mother which occurred in 1966 and had to have been added later, perhaps, by his cousin Dorothy. The whole Ziegler family may have been involved in some type of serious accident around 1931. The father John William died, the mother Grace became an invalid, and son J. Melvin was seriously injured all about the same time. Perhaps, this was when J. Melvin lost an eye. Information below [inside brackets] was added by researcher Bradley S. Ziegler of Union, Missouri, the current owner of the above mentioned painting and biographical note.
“John [J. Melvin] Ziegler came to this ward in a serious condition after an accident about 1 year ago. Due to medical and physical therapy he is now walking with a cane. Not only has he regained his walking ability, he has painted several oil paintings. He has just finished a portrait of Dr. Scarborough’s brother and is painting a portrait of Wayne Meinberg-P.T. of the 700 Gym. He studied at Miami University and at Washington D.C. He was a designer and mural painter for the Air Corps. He was one of the originators of the plastic artificial eye and established his own business in manufacturing them. He also designed floats for the Jr. and Sr. Orange Bowl floats in Miami, Florida. He recently exhibited paper mache masks at the Biltmore Hotel [in Miami] and had his first exhibit of oil paintings (a one-man show at the age of 21 years [in 1928/29].) John lost his mother [in March 1966] (to whom he had devoted his life) since coming to Rancho [CA]. For the past 35 years she had been an invalid. He has great charm and wit and will admit to all that he is a genius.”
Information courtesy of relative and genealogical researcher, Brad Ziegler Union, MO.