Image: Back of James Schinneller's head
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This photo of James Schinneller, an artist and retired art professor, appeared with his obituary.
updated 9/21/2006 10:26:33 PM ET 2006-09-22T02:26:33

Artist and retired art professor Jim Schinneller's love of laughter didn't end with his death.

When an obituary for the lifelong jokester appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it was accompanied with a photo — of the back of his head.

"It's a family that goes for a little bit of one-upmanship," Jim Schinneller Jr. explained to the Journal Sentinel's Jim Stingl in a column published Wednesday.

He said the family couldn't resist giving his dad a chance for one more joke.

The senior Schinneller's companion, Gloria Bosben, said that she took the photo (surprise, surprise) as a joke.

"He had just gotten a haircut ,and it was a sunny day out," she said. "He said, 'I want you to take a picture of the back of my head. I want to give it to the kids for Christmas.'"

So he turned around and she snapped the picture outside his suburban Fox Point home. He gave 5-by-7-inch framed copies to each of his four grown children and Bosben's brother two years ago.

Family members said it was just the kind of thing they could always expect from Schinneller, a retired professor of art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who died at home Sept. 9 at the age of 81.

"He liked to buck the system," his daughter Diane Colla said. "He enjoyed showing people how absurd life was."

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