ANTONITO — A memorial event will be held in honor of the passing of noted muralist and artist Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein on July 7 in Antonito.
Frederick Fitzjarrald Haberlein, Lightning Heart, was born December 7, 1944. He grew up at the Conejos Ranch on the Conejos River in southern Colorado. Fred graduated from Antonito High School, attended Colorado State University with a degree in sculpture and anthropology and attended graduate school at Arizona State University, where he studied printmaking. During and after graduate school, Haberlein lived in Oracle, Arizona working alongside other artists at Rancho Linda Vista. In 1984, Fred returned to Conejos Ranch and began painting murals in Colorado, the first of which was a Virgin Mary for his high school classmate Johnny Johnson, who was nearly killed in the Vietnam War.
Haberlein went on to complete 80 murals in the San Luis Valley before moving to Glenwood Springs with his wife, Teresa Platt, in 1988. He continued mural work, completing 140 pieces of public art including pictures on the main streets of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Leadville, Gunnison, Salida, Alamosa, La Jara, Romeo and Antonito. For 18 years, Haberlein taught Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain at Colorado Mountain College.
One of his more recent projects was the repainting of a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2016 in Antonito, through a grant from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, which he completed despite being diagnosed with esophageal cancer and undergoing treatment at the time.
Fred loved Native American culture, painting, juggling, hiking, skiing and hanging out with friends. He is survived by his wife, Teresa; brother, Bill; son, Kort, and daughter-in-law, Sandy; and 2 grandchildren, West and Ryan.
The memorial event will begin with a viewing of a recent documentary on Mr. Haberlein beginning at 12 noon in the Antonito Fire Department Building. Attendees will then proceed to the Conejos County Museum, located at the intersection of Hwy 17 and Hwy 285 in Antonito, for a viewing of selected art pieces. At 2 p.m., beginning at the Conejos County Museum, there will be a guided walking tour of the Antonito murals painted by Fred.
The family requests contributions to the Fred Haberlein Documentary Fund in lieu of flowers. Contact [email protected] or 963-1680. Donations will help see the film to completion.
Memorial event sponsors are the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Conejos Clean Water, Caminos de Valle, Dutch Mill Restaurant and G6.