Saint Mary's University mourns loss of artist-in-residence

'Brother Cletus' dies at 82

SAN ANTONIOSaint Mary's University is mourning the loss of artist Cletus Behlmann.

Behlmann, known as "Brother Cletus," died Tuesday at the age of 82.

Behlmann was a Marianist brother and artist-in-residence at St. Mary's University.

Most people knew of Behlmann for his beautiful artwork that adorns the buildings across the St. Mary's campus.

"(Behlmann's artwork) It's wonderful and bright and kind of uplifting," said Rev. Tim Eden, S.M., ED.D, vice president for mission at St. Mary's University. "And as a man, that's what he was. He was wonderful and from the loud ties that he wore and his pajama bottoms he wore outside."

Behlmann moved to San Antonio in 1977 and opened the St. Mary's University Art Center.

Eden said during Behlmann's time at St. Mary's, he touched a lot of lives, many who became fans of his work.

"We have nine Cletuses on our wall," said Jenee Margo Gonzales, southern region development officer with the Marianists. "We call it a mini Cletus Gallery. There's a lot of other people in the San Antonio community who have told me that they have mini Cletus galleries in their home."

Gonzales, who worked with Behlmann, said he had battled cancer before and was hoping he could beat it again.

"Secretly, I was just hoping that he would surprise us again and be okay," Gonzales said. "When I got the news within an hour of his passing, my heart was just heavy and it's been a difficult day."

"Cletus was famous, notorious maybe for being just very generous with his stuff," Eden said. "If I had to pick anything, other than the fact that he was a great artist, I think he was really a very good man."

About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.