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Joseph J. Crilley, 88, painter

Joseph J. Crilley, 88, of Carversville, an artist, a photographer, and a decorated World War II paratrooper, died of cancer Thursday at his home.

Joseph J. Crilley of Bucks in a self-portrait.
Joseph J. Crilley of Bucks in a self-portrait.Read more

Joseph J. Crilley, 88, of Carversville, an artist, a photographer, and a decorated World War II paratrooper, died of cancer Thursday at his home.

A Bucks County resident for 60 years, Mr. Crilley painted scenes along the Delaware, and local landmarks such as the New Hope-Ivyland Train Station. He also painted scenes from his annual trip to Italy, and captured the people, countryside and seascapes of Nova Scotia, where he resided in the summer. A self-described colorist, Mr. Crilley told The Inquirer in 2003 that he painted about 40 oils a year, many of them schooners. "Sailboats sell," he said.

Last year, a critic described the "sheen and glisten and the pleasing content" of Mr. Crilley's "unabashedly romantic" paintings.

His work is in private collections and has been shown at local galleries and several museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Michener Museum in Doylestown. His oils have earned awards from the Audubon Artists and the Salmagundi Art Club in New York City; the Doylestown Arts League; and the Phillips Mill Art Association. He completed a painting of a child in a horse-drawn carriage less than two weeks ago, his family said.

Mr. Crilley's illustrations have been covers for Yankee and Pennsylvania Angler magazines, among others, and he created a logo for the Concordia Chamber Players. In 1989, his composition of an artist's palette, a historical mansion, and a boat on the Delaware Canal was chosen by the New Hope Arts Commission for the official New Hope Seal.

His photographic work was featured in Outdoor Life, Popular Photography and American Artist magazines. A collection of his photos was the basis for the book

New York, Island of Islands

, published in 1965.

Mr. Crilley met Suzanne Corlette when she commissioned him to take photos for the New Jersey State Museum, where she was on the staff. They married in 1982. In 1998, the couple collaborated on a book,

From Italy With Love

, a collections of their remembrances of Italy in words, ink drawings and watercolors.

Mr. Crilley graduated from North Catholic High School. He studied drawing and painting at the Fleisher Art Memorial and the Philadelphia College of Art, and took liberal-arts courses at Temple University.

During World War II, he served in the Army with the 101st Airborne and parachuted into Normandy in advance of the D-Day invasion. He later participated in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, the defense of Bastogne, and the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded and received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Mr. Crilley moved to Bucks County in 1948. From 1955 to 1961, he taught art at New Hope-Solebury High School. He enjoyed teaching and mentoring young artists who came to him for advice, his family said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Crilley is survived by daughters Pamela Crilley Ross, Geraldine Raymond and Candace Haynes; a son, Joseph; and six grandchildren. His former wife, Marion Crilley, preceded him in death.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. today at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church, 1 Riverstone Circle, New Hope. Friends may call from 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in Carversville Cemetery.