Wayne "Rod" Lazorik passed away peacefully at his home in Sugar Grove, North Carolina on January 20, 2023, in the company of his family. Rod was born on May 8, 1939 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is survived by his sister Peggy Sellwood, son Pablo Armijo, life partner Kathleen Campbell, and step-children Mariel and Colin Campbell.
Rod grew up in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota where he pursued sport and leisure in equal parts. He excelled as a cross-country athlete. With unbridled vigor, he and his gang (Tim Kiernan, Art Patterson, Bob Oas, Bob Erickson) created the Taranchalathon, a ten-event track and field race wherein participants were tested to the fullest extent. In 2022, Rod was inducted into the St Hall of Fame.
Rod received his undergraduate and graduate education from 1958-1966 at the University of Minnesota. During this time, he ran "the Raven", a 3.2 bar near campus, where he hosted one of Bob Dylan's final performances, and he founded the Westbank Gallery in Minneapolis.
In 1966 Rod was offered a job as an Instructor in the Art department of the University of New Mexico, and he moved to Albuquerque to teach at UNM while still finishing his B.S. and MFA at University of Minnesota. Rod subsequently was hired on as faculty at UNM and contributed to the development of the university's world-class Photography program in the Department of Art and Art History as Assistant professor, Associate Professor, Chairperson, and ultimately Professor Emeritus by the time he retired in 1996. His mentors and colleagues included esteemed photographers Van Deren Coke, Beaumont Newhall, Tom Barrow, Betty Hahn, David Michael Kennedy, Patrick Nagatani, and Joel-Peter Witkin. His 1990 portrait by photographer Charles Rushton is archived in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Rod's photographs have been archived nationally and internationally in collections including the University of New Mexico Museum of Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Canada, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Joseph Bellows Gallery.
Rod lived in Sugar Grove NC for the past 25 years, was an active card player at the Western Watauga Community Center, a democratic poll worker, and made friends wherever he went.
Rod was an artist, a poet, and a highly skilled craftsman, and his creativity seeped into all his work, from photography to fine carpentry. He loved, and was loved by, animals of all kinds. Rod was a mentor, colleague, teacher, brother, husband, partner, father, grandfather, and to so many, a friend. He will be greatly missed.