While origami is an ancient art, its modern incarnation is surprisingly recent, and many of us have had the great fortune to meet and/or work with the pioneers of the art and of OrigamiUSA. The sections and forums below recall some of the greats and some of our friends who have passed on.
Origami in the U.S. was founded by Lillian Oppenheimer, whose Origami Center of America served to bring together origami aficionados from around the U.S. and, indeed, around the world. Lillian's life, contributions to origami (and to this organization), and more (including rare video interviews) may be found on our History page, here.
Michael Shall was a Co-Founder of OrigamiUSA (formerly The Friends of The Origami Center of America). It is through his efforts as a volunteer that we have grown from a handful of origami enthusiasts to a major force in the origami worldwide community.
Vicky Mihara Avery, was one of the co-founders of the Pacific Coast OrigamiUSA Convention (PCOC), co-manager of the Paper Tree store in San Francisco, and a tireless volunteer for OrigamiUSA and the local civic organizations in San Francisco. She passed away in 2019. Learn more about her and her work.
One of the icons of OrigamiUSA was V'Ann Cornelius, who was heavily involved in the Pacific Coast Origami Conference, in bringing origami into the mainstream art world in the USA, and in the creation of OrigamiUSA's own web presence. Sadly, V'Ann passed away in early 2008 after a battle with cancer. Her friends within OrigamiUSA have put together this memorial tribute webpage.
Neal Elias was one of the greats of American origami: inventor of over a thousand original designs pioneer of the techniques that became known as box-pleating, and friend and mentor to numerous folders. Neal passed away in 2005; a tribute site has been created here.
deg farrelly was a long-time member and volunteer for OrigamiUSA, well-known for his teaching and origami designs of charm and simplicity.
Vernon Isaac (1948-2009) was a fixture at OrigamiUSA conventions, ever friendly, ever willing to teach, with a big, booming personality and a warm, infectious laugh. Contribute your own memories of Vernon at his memorial page here.
One of the greatest origami artists of the 21st century, Eric Joisel passed away on October 10, 2010. Contribute your memories of this great artist and wonderful person on his memorial page here.
Mark Kennedy (1950-2018) was one of the earliest members of OrigamiUSA and a generous teacher with a warm disposition and sense of humor. Contribute your memories of him here.
Laura Kruskal was a prolific origami creator and teacher. She was well known for her wonderful origami crowns taught every year at our Annual Convention, most recently at the 2018 Convention where we celebrated her 95th birthday!
Janessa Munt (1995 - 2023) was a volunteer and organizer for OrigamiUSA. She created the Gather.town space for the Origami Cafe and organized the Gather & Fold event after the 2021 OrigamiUSA Annual Convention.
Vyda G. Liaugaudas was a long-time member of OrigamiUSA. Vyda was member # 1322 and she supported our organization and helped in many areas. Contribute your own memories of Vyda here.
Bernice Smith was devoted to Origami USA. She taught every year at the Origami Tree and at library and school events throughout Westchester. Contribute your memories of her here.
Phyllis Snyder was an active folder in the West Coast Origami Guild. Contribute your memories of her here.
Bob Stack was a force all his own. Best remembered by many for his booming voice calling out the numbers during the class ticketing and running the Airplane Contest at Convention. Contribute your memories of him here.
Florence Temko passed on in 2009. A prolific artist, author, creator, and folder, she was beloved by generations of folders. Contribute your own memories of Florence at her memorial page here.
Wensdy Whitehead (June 24, 1971- May 7, 2023) was a veteran and entrepreneur with a specialty in origami and computer programming. She had a fun sense of humor filled with folded puns and was a smart, intellectual, and caring person.
Would you like to create a tribute page to a worthy folder? if so, please contact the web team at website [at] origamiusa.org.