Memorium: Mary Evelyn (M.E.) Whitehill (NRA-1983)

Mary Evelyn (M.E.) Whitehill in July, 2011 (at age 91) on the parlor balcony of SCNY during one of her last plein air excursions to New York City to participate in a musical paint-out in Washington Square Park.

Mary Evelyn Whitehill
Mar. 9, 1920 – Mar. 27, 2012

Town of Newburgh, NY.

The art world was changed with the death of Mary E. Whitehill of Newburgh, New York, on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Born on March 9, 1920 to David J. and C. Evelyn Pope Perrott, she was a Newburgh resident all her life. At her 80th celebration she observed that her life had so far been divided into stages of twenty years each: student, parent, librarian, artist. And the next stage? “A successful artist.”

As a child Mary Evelyn (M.E. as she liked to be called) was set on becoming an artist; her great grandfather was the Hudson River artist, Thomas B. Pope. She attended Quassaick Hall, Abbott Academy and Wells College, where she said she chose watercolors “because this German professor was doing very abstract free-for-all American watercolors, totally different from the European style.”

In 1941, M.E. began work at Burgers’ Furniture Store where she met her husband W. Hugh Whitehill. Married in 1943, she stayed at home to care for her four children and do local volunteer work. “I’d belong to everything – become president – League of Women’s voters, Girl scouts, Sunday School – you name it.”

In the 1960’s she took advantage of New York State’s Title II program to receive her masters in Library Science from SUNY Albany. She then worked at The Newburgh Free Library and the West Street School Branch.

Upon her retirement in 1985, M.E. began her art career in earnest. A prolific painter, her art has preserved forever much of the beauty of the Hudson River Valley. “When I first started to paint they were tearing down Newburgh and everything was disappearing. I really wanted to record some of the buildings.” Many of her images are found today on greeting cards she started as a donation project. She truly enjoyed depicting florals and landscapes. She loved painting outdoors, believing the world needs its nature and the world needs its art.

M.E. exhibited an enthusiastic love of life. People who met her didn’t forget her; she made a vivid impression in her purple hat. Always interested in learning about people’s lives and new ideas, at 70, M.E. bought her first computer, created her own website (www.mewhitehill.com- even writing her own “html” code), joined Facebook but not Twitter because “you were always told to avoid twits.”

At 89 Mary Evelyn realized her dream of opening her own gallery, combining her marketing and business skills with her love of art. On her 90th birthday she arranged a celebration and benefit to help preserve Bannerman Castle, a scene she had painted many times. Her art will continue to inspire and share the joy Mary Evelyn had in creating her paintings.

Mary Evelyn Whitehill is survived by her sons Walter Whitehill of Newburgh, Brian T. Whitehill and his husband David Domedion of NYC, daughter Joan Roth of Katonah, NY.

Those we lost in 2011

September 17th: Elizabeth T. Ryan, (RA-1977, Emeritus) 

July 8th: Yves Parent, (NRA-2003) See: The Christina Gallery

June 15th: Domenic B. DiStefano, (NRA-1975, Emeritus) See: Legacy.com

June 6th: Marion Andrews, (RA-1973, Emeritus) See: Norton Patch

May 28th: Patricia M. Sprouls, (NRA-2004) See: Knox News

May 6th: William Herbert Smith, (NRA-1983) See: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

March 13th: Mortimer Slotnick, (RA-1999) See: NY Times

February 2nd: Clark Hulings, (H-2007) See: NY Times, Santa Fe New Mexican, Wikipedia

Memorium: Marion Andrews, (RA-1973, Emeritus), June 6th, 2011

Raised in Norton, Massachusetts, Marion graduated the Worcester Art Museum School, continuing her education at the Massachusetts College of Art, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education. Marion also attended the Yale University Summer School of Landscape Painting and her interest in calligraphy led her to the University of California at Santa Cruz and Imperial College in London where she studied calligraphy and illumination. She also studied watercolor with Edgar A. Whitney, Edmond Fitzgerald and Rex Brandt.

Marion was among the first group accepted when the Salmagundi Club opened its membership to women in 1973, serving on the Board as well as numerous committees. She also had memberships in the Pen and Brush, National Arts Club, Jackson Heights Art Club, National Association of Women Artists, American Artists Professional League and Audubon Artists. Marion exhibited in all of the major juried group shows in the New York area garnering in excess of 100 awards for her watercolors. Her keen eye and sensitivity to design also served her well as a juror of countless shows including the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.

An artist and pilot, she was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force to paint the Blue Angels Exhibition Team at Pensacola, Florida and by the U.S. Navy to memorialize the 1976 Bicentennial’s Operation Sail in New York Harbor. A member of the “Ninety Nines”, Marion designed the gold pin awarded to those who flew the transcontinental “Power-Puff Derby”, a race she competed in 3 times.