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William “Bill” Luse

William Arthur Luse III (known as Bill), age 67, died unexpectedly in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 3, 2018. 

A private memorial has been planned for family.

Bill spent his childhood in Moville, Iowa and moved to Minneapolis following college. He lived in Minneapolis the majority of the year, splitting time between his home in Minneapolis and his home in Gold Canyon, Arizona. 

A graduate of the University of Iowa in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he was a renowned caricature artist who worked as both a freelance artist and at a permanent booth performing caricature artistry at both the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and the Arizona Renaissance Festival for thirty-two years. 

In addition to his artwork, Bill assisted friends and other performers as a talent-booking agent through his company, Personal Performance Arts. 

He was deservedly proud of the fact that he worked on his own schedule and for himself as he did what he loved — he created art. 

His inspiration, in part, came from his mother Virginia who was also an artist, and his love of comic books as a young child. 

Beyond his art, he loved his friends, his sister and their family, his niece and nephew, his music, his cousins, his Hawkeyes and his best friend and constant companion over the last six years, his dog Penny. Penny and Bill were inseparable. 

In addition to his art, Bill was a talented musician who built a private recording studio in his home, where he wrote, played and recorded music regularly with a group of friends. They performed publicly on a few occasions, but they particularly enjoyed their time playing together. 

He was an outstanding athlete in multiple sports in high school and continued to play basketball throughout his life. 

He had an extraordinary sense of humor that was showcased when he was creating a caricature. His lively repartee was a part of the theater that brought many families back year after year to have caricatures drawn. 

He was a genuine friend who became a friend for life once you were drawn into his circle. He would do anything to help a friend. He lit up every room he entered, and he lived life on his own terms. 

Bill married LeeAnne Schindel in 1973. While they divorced, they remained good friends. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne Wendell Luse and Virginia Rose Luse (Sanborn); his brother, James Wayne Luse (Jimmy) and sister, Rosalie Virginia Luse (Rosie). 

He is survived by his sister, Cynthia Luse-McKeen, who resides in Chicago with her husband, P Douglas McKeen. He was a favorite uncle to his niece Hanna Luse Bartels (husband Doug) and nephew Jordan Luse McKeen. He is also survived by his many great friends, cousins, uncles and aunts.

There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they are gone, the light remains.

“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to the whisper which is heard by him alone.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Memorials in Bill’s name can be sent to Art Buddies (110 North Fifth Street, Floor 10, Minneapolis, MN. 55403)

The family felt that promoting arts with young children through one-on-one mentors would honor Bill’s life.


  1. Cousin Sally Sanborn Sievers on July 10, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in HEAVEN where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
    -Unknown author
    Cousin Bill, I found your star and you make me smile as always.

  2. Barb Hansen on July 11, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Bill was my best friend for over 30 years. We dated on and off, but always were the best of friends. I helped him pick out his dog Penny, who was a rescue. I loved Penny as much as one could love
    a dog. Many things tied us together as friends, but Bill was easy to be friends with and love too. He also was a designated organ donor. He will be greatly missed by myself, his family and everyone who knew him. RIP Bill. You’re in my heart forever.

  3. Lorraine Owings on July 12, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    This is a huge loss to the Twin Cities artistic community. Bill was one of the first persons I met when I came to Minnesota many moons ago. He was just fun, upbeat, uniquely funny – a great story teller. Few people could make you laugh like he did. He was so gifted. We all will miss him. RIP, Bill.

  4. Dave Kracht on July 12, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    My wife Sue and I met Bill in Art school at the U of Iowa in the early ‘70s. Though living in different states, I consider him one of my very best friends. He had an excellent moral compass, a ridiculously quick wit and one of the kindest, generous spirits around. As an artist , musician and songwriter he started out very, very good and just kept getting better and better. As a caricature artist, he was very proud of his skill in entertaining his subjects so that they’d reveal their very best facial expression then capture an excellent individual likeness. He might have done 60 thousands caricatures. As an agent, he helped out so many people in the arts as he could communicate effortlessly between the corporate and artist’s worlds. Bill was such a good musician it was always a pleasure to jam with him.
    The world is a colder place without him.

    • William and Darlene Morris on August 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      We loved bills artwork of us and our family that he did for over 25 years at the Arizona Renaissance Faire. We came to memorialize him by visiting the Minneapolis Renaissance fair today in 20 21. He is sadly missed by our entire family. And there will never be another replacement with his sense of humor and his inspiration.

  5. Lori Hurley on July 13, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    Bill Luse was an icon and a treasure to the entire entertainment community. His own artistry was exceptional, but he also had a knack for bringing other artists and entertainers together. I enjoyed our conversations about the business, and we laughed about the trends over the years. (We both considered ourselves “old-timers”.)

    He was a friend and mentor to so many, and the ripple effect of his passing will be felt for a long time.

    Blessings and comfort to his entire family.


    • Greg Zale on December 15, 2022 at 12:56 pm

      Bill and I became friends as he did our family’s caricatures for 30 years. I will miss him. So sad when I called him and his line was disconnected.

  6. Nicholas Rezmerski on July 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I met Bill when I worked at the MN Renaissance Festival in 1988. It was always a highlight of my day to stop by and chat with him.

    I didn’t get out there last year, and was greatly looking forward to seeing him this year. Sorry I missed you, Bill.

  7. Pete Wagner on July 18, 2018 at 1:03 am

    So sorry to hear this, and a bit shocked. Bill Luse was one of my very first (and friendliest) “competitors” when I was drawing caricatures at events in the 1980s. There were hardly any of us back then. One time in the 1990s, another artist (well, businessman, really) who was out to discredit me called Bill and was calling around to every caricaturist he could find, trying to dig up dirt on me. Bill called me right afterwards and told me all about the conversation. The other artist asked Bill, “So this Pete Wagner–is he some kind of an egotist or something?” And Bill told me he responded, “WHAT!! An ARTIST who has an EGO?!!! How could THAT ever be!!!” One of the funniest things I ever heard. I loved him for that. Rest in peace, Bill.

  8. Victoria Yeldon on July 19, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Bill was my biggest advocate and inspiration when I worked at the renaissance from age 13-22. He motivated me to push boundaries with my art and if I really wanted to be an artist to pursue it even when the money wasn’t there. He was a cherished friend to turn to for advice or just a good break for conversation. Bill will always have a special place in my memories as a mentor and friend. I never got to tell you because I moved away, but I am a watercolor artist now, a mother of 3, and everything worked out like you said. Thank you for everything Bill. Sending love and prayers to your family.

  9. Cynthia Luse-McKeen on July 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Memorials in Bill’s name can be sent to Art Buddies, 110 North Fifth Street, Floor 10, Minneapolis MN 55403.
    The family felt that promoting arts with young children through one-on-one mentors would honor Bill’s life.

    • Editor on July 23, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Thanks for the information, Cynthia. I’ve added that to the end of the obituary.

  10. Jan Adams on July 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Bill was such a fixture at the Renaissance Festivals in Minnesota and Arizona and it it will feel empty without him! He was a terrific guy, great conversationalist, and a tremendous help to so many artists through his work as an agent for different events who were hiring artists. He was a fixture in our common neighborhood in Minneapolis, often taking a walk with his dog Penny, and stopping to visit with folks along the way. He lived his life with kindness and wit, and was a great talent.
    He will be missed!

  11. Lori Nelson on August 29, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    I went to the University of Iowa from 1970-1974 and met Bill through my friend and dorm roommate, Lee Schindel. The three of us spent many evenings together listening to music and talking. Even back then I remember him drawing all the time – he was so talented! We used to take turns cooking meals for each other, although Lee and Bill never could stay at my apartment for long because Bill was allergic to my cats. After they married and moved to Minneapolis, a year later I followed them there because I enjoyed their company so much. I have such great memories of Bill as a supportive friend through my college years and shortly after until I moved to California in 1976. He was always positive, witty and kind – one of the few people I have known throughout my life who never had a mean thing to say about anyone. The first dog I ever knew well was Lee and Bill’s dog, Jeep, and it was one of the reasons I wanted to live with a dog, even though I had only had cats up until then. I now have 3 rescue dogs. Although I hadn’t seen Bill in many, many years, I was so saddened and surprised to hear of his passing. He was a very important person to me in my early 20s and I have nothing but fond memories of him.

  12. William and Darlene Morris on August 28, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    We loved bills artwork of us and our family that he did for over 25 years at the Arizona Renaissance Faire. We came to memorialize him by visiting the Minneapolis Renaissance fair today in 20 21. He is sadly missed by our entire family. And there will never be another replacement with his sense of humor and his inspiration.

  13. Charles Montange on July 29, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Bill was a high school friend and classmate, and I just ran across his obituary in the Record. I had lost touch with him, but would add a remembrance as to his art. He was my chemistry lab partner and our deal is he would do the illustrations and I the written material for our lab reports. His stuff was wonderful. I think we both aced the course. He was more or less my campaign manager, doing hilarious illustrations for campaign posters, for student office. It is pleasant to learn how he continued to put his skills in art and illustration to good use. Vaya con Dios, old friend.

  14. The Kriegh Family on March 3, 2023 at 11:06 am

    We have multiple caricature drawings from Bill of our whole family over the course of years at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. We was wonderful to listen to while he worked. He is missed.

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