Abner was born in Runeberg Township, Becker County, Minnesota, on Feb. 9, 1935. His parents were Abner Jonas (1908-1956) and Josephine Harju (1912-1982).
He graduated from Menahga High School in 1953. His family includes his wife of more than 60 years, Kathleen; two sons, Matthew (Rebecca) of McKinney, Texas, and Arnold of Athens, Ohio; brother Allen (Dot); sister Joan (John Enger) of Powell; five granddaughters and five great-grandchildren; as well as cousins, nieces and nephews.
He attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he received a bachelor of arts in 1957. He then attended the University of Iowa, receiving his master of fine arts in painting in 1960 and additional study in intaglio printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky (1962-64).
Abner taught in Ontonagon, Michigan, at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, and at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (1964-2015).
His primary teaching area was intaglio printmaking. He also served as director of the School of Art from 1980-86 and as acting director from 1989-90.
His intaglio prints have been included in countless national and international exhibitions, and are in public and private collections. In 2006 he was named “Printmaker of the Year” by the Mid-America Print Council.
An exhibition of selected works, “In Honor of Abner Jonas,” has been organized by Ohio University’s School of Art + Design and Kennedy Museum of Art from Feb. 25 to March 4.