Auditor Yost Meets with Ohio WWII Vet and Painter of the Auditor’s State Seal

Auditor Yost writes about his meeting with Carl Weisgerber in Cincinnati

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Auditor of State is always a tenant in the office – 31 people have held it before me; others will follow in due course.

When I arrived in 2011, there was a large State Seal for the Auditor hanging on the wall. It was the only one like it, and if you have ever seen a photograph from a press conference, you’ve probably seen it on the wall behind me.

It’s a curious thing, in an era when everything is machine-printed and mass-produced.  It’s a good two feet in diameter, hand-painted in acrylic. It turns out that the state government, back in the day, hired artists to do certain work.

I like the seal, because it’s a symbol of the continuity of the work of the office, a work that that is greater than those who conduct it.

But that’s only part of the story.

One day, the artist’s signature on that state seal caught the eye of a former Auditor of State employee.

The employee’s uncle Carl Weisgerber, had been, among other things, a commercial artist for the old F.&R. Lazarus & Co. department store.  It turns out he had painted the state seal on commission. 

Carl doesn’t quite recall when it was – he was painting a lot, and had also painted original posters and cards for other businesses, including the Timken Co.   But he recognized his signature and remembered doing the work.

He lives near Cincinnati now, and I had the opportunity to stop in to visit him.  He’s a World War II Vet – and honorable man who’s led a full and happy life.   He only gave up painting in the last few years, as his hand began to refuse to follow his mind’s direction.  

It was an honor to meet him, and to know one more piece of the legacy of the Auditor’s office.