Local artist Mary Jane Wright Straight passed away on November 20, 2012. She was an upbeat individual, always ready with a laugh or anecdote, Mary will be missed by her family and the many members of our art community who enjoyed her company.
The third of four children, Mary grew up in Morgan, Utah, and graduated from Morgan High School. After a time working for the California Dairy Council and Port of San Diego, she returned and completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah.
After graduation, Mary taught art at Granite High School in Salt Lake City. She married Richard Straight on August 16, 1963, and moved to the Monument Park area of Salt Lake City to raise a family. There she devoted her remarkable talents and energy to her family, community, and church.
She continued her work as an educator, taking an active role in her children’s schools, and substitute teaching in the Salt Lake School District.
In the tradition of her father, Clark Wright, Mary was a passionate artist and teacher. As a painter, Mary worked with a variety of media to capture the people and places that she loved best. Many of her happiest memories and most inspired works were connected to the landscapes of Utah and the California coast. In her last years, she worked out of her studio in the Rockwood building in the Sugar House district of Salt Lake City. She was an active member of the Utah Watercolor Society and the Intermountain Society of Artists. A long-time supporter of 15 Bytes, she also loved art books and would always ask which new Utah art book we had to offer during our fund drives.
To honor Mary’s memory, The Utah Watercolor Society is naming their annual scholarship after her. The award is presented yearly at the Springville High School art show. You can read remembrances from some of the Society members, as well as make a donation toward the fund, by visiting www.utahwatercolor.org.