January 23, 1932 ~ August 13, 2021 (age 89)


ROLF FRANZ ERNST ZILLMER, 89, of Libby passed away on Friday, August 13, 2021 at the Libby Care Center. He was born January 23, 1932 in Manhattan, New York to Franz and Irene Zillmer. As a young child he spent some time in Germany and the rest in New York where he attended school. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson Vocational High School in 1951 where he was a member of the track team. He was a corporal in the United States Army during the Korean conflict.

He moved to Los Angeles to begin his career and that is where he met the love of his life Evelyn Joyce Shaw. They were married January 14, 1961 and lived in California and Montana.

He attended the Art Center College of Design and worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, art director, artist, photographer and sculptor. He worked for the Children's Press where he designed and photo illustrated a set of books about our National Parks. He is described as a nationally acclaimed landscape printer and wildlife sculptor. His ability to combine canvas and paint with such detail to bring to life a landscape, animal or person was masterful. From a young age he enjoyed the feeling of clay in his hands.

Animals and birds became his inspiration for many sculptures he created.

He was a member of the Oil Painters of America and belonged to and held offices for the California Art Club. In 1998 he was made an Honorary Life Member of that organization. He received many honors and awards for both his oil paintings and sculptures. His work was shown at museum shows and many invitational art shows including Arts For The Parks.

He enjoyed traveling and backpacking with Evelyn as well as bicycle racing with many friends.

Rolf was preceded in death by his parents, sister Norma Ellis and wife Evelyn Joyce.

Survivors include nephews; Bruce (Debbie) Ellis, Hillsboro OR; Steven Shaw, Missoula; Mike (Nyla) Shaw, Florence; Ryan (Debbie) Shaw, Helena; Kenny (Audrey) Shaw, Missoula; sister in law Lois Shaw, Missoula; and many grandnieces and grandnephews and so many friends. The world has lost a master artist that brought much beauty into our world. We will miss you and Evelyn greatly.

Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby.  Online condolences and memories may be shared at


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