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In Memory of Myron Angus - One Truly Amazing Man

The late Myron Angus of St. Thomas, Ontario, was a charmer with a quick wit and an enchanting smile. He had some special ability to immediately put people at ease. His happy appearance and outgoing  personality was instantly making people smile. The famous St. Thomas man had no use of his hands or legs, but he had successful career as a mouth-painter and art gallery owner, played piano, married, raised a family, traveled the world and participated in many events. This amazing man spent his life helping to liberate people with physical disabilities from a dependent lifestyle on others. "Although one door may close, another may be opened" was the philosophy of this unique and talented artist who has received several awards for his art and community work, and represented the Canadian M.F.P.A. (The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists) before Pope John Paul II in 1992.

Myron Angus was born February 28, 1926 in the town of St. Marys, Ontario, where he spent the first 15 years of his life. He was born with arthrogryposis, a condition which fuses the joints in the body and, according to story told by Myron, medical specialist "gave heck" to his parents' physician for allowing him to live at birth. In spite of being born without the use of his hands or legs, his affliction did not keep him from living a life like anyone else.

Many people found inspiration through Myron Angus, a talented handicapped artist of international fame, who created all his works through painting with his mouth. He has mastered that fascinating technique of painting with the brush held between his teeth, and had ability to talk and paint at the same time. A simple dowel-rod with a rubber tip held between his teeth and his determination made it all possible. This other way of doing things didn't just happen over night.

When Myron was about 7 years old, his parents were visiting the C.N.E. in Toronto, Ontario. There, they came across a man by the name of Bill Watson (Canadian author and journalist William Ritchie Watson) at one of the displays. He was autographing the book "My Desire"  which he had written by holding a pen in his mouth, he had no arms. When Mr. and Mrs. Angus told him about their son, he autographed a copy of the book special for Myron. Then he told them to put a pencil between his teeth. Let him learn to control the pencil this way, then put him in school.

Myron become determined to learn to write by mouth and get his high school diploma. He even had a job in a local garage, painting lettering and logos on the door panels of trucks. He was fascinated with color, line, and form and devoted all his energy to improving his artistic technique. When he couldn't receive the art training he felt he needed, because society wasn't yet ready for him, he started to sketch and paint copies of the old masters from the family Bible. Although landscapes in later years became his signature. He developed a flair with watercolor and his fascinating dexterity with this particular medium turned him into a crowd pleaser wherever he was. His painting skills improved as his love for painting grew, resulting in his first art exhibition in a Toronto Gallery (1948) where he demonstrated his amazing ability and talent for the first time. People crowded the Gallery spilling out on Young Street. His popularity grew in leaps and bounds. Exhibitions were held in major cities all over Canada and the U.S.A.

In 1959 Myron bought the Gallery & Picture Frame Shop on Young St., in Toronto which he operated successfully until 1966.
In 1963 he started his membership with the M.F.P.A., an international, for-profit association wholly owned and run by disabled artists to help them meet their financial needs, which gave him financial backing, he realized another dream to became a traveling artist.

As a direct result of his financial independence, Myron bought a motor home and, for the next twenty years, traveled throughout Canada, giving lectures and demonstrations at rehabilitation centres, children’s hospitals, service clubs, church groups, and schools, encouraging those with physical disabilities to live their lives to their greatest potential. His aim was to help handicapped people to live a fuller life, and he also wanted to make the public aware of the big barriers and problems handicapped people are faced in our society. At the same time he organized a large number of exhibitions and demonstrations of his painting. Myron served on many councils and received many awards and distinctions, including the Vanier Medal Award*

Myron Angus gave new hope to those imprisoned by their physical limitations and encouraged many handicapped people which help them to open new doors to achieve their rightful place in society and not to dwell on their own physical limitations. He died on April 23rd, 2004. His death reminded us once again of his visions, dedication and unique work which give the courage to many handicapped people. Even though he is no longer of this earth, he still remains inspiration to many people. His unique personality, wisdom and remarkable life are greatly missed and will remain with us always.

* The Institute of Public Administration of Canada awards annually the Vanier Medal as a mark of distinction and exceptional achievement to a person who has shown distinctive leadership in public administration and public service in Canada, or who, by his/her writings or other endeavors, has made a significant contribution in the field of public administration or public service in Canada.