Miriam Weems | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Miriam Weems


Artist Miriam Weems filled the world with color from her cottage studio in Belhaven, and she reflected what she saw back to the community. This week, her fans, friends and family mourned her death and said good-bye.

Weems, 69, died Saturday, Aug. 20, after a sudden illness.

Page after page in her book "Mostly Mississippi"(2007, Quail Ridge Press, $39.95) pops with bright, vibrant watercolor impressions. She preferred landscapes with pretty flowers and happy, green memories. Her love of color went beyond her paintings.

In 2009, she talked to the Jackson Free Press for a story about clothing designer Sami Lott, known for vivid, bold fashions. Weems was packing for a trip to Las Vegas and planned to bring "one pair of black pants and a different Sami Lott top for every night we are there."

Weems attended Murrah High School and graduated in 1959. She graduated with a degree in French from the University of Mississippi in 1963, then the New York School of Interior Design in 1965. While raising two sons, she returned to Ole Miss and received her fine arts degree in 1986.

She found ways to "recognize and reward people who are kind to animals." Her pledge of $25,000 created the Miriam W. Weems Pet Lovers Scholarship Endowment for full-time students in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi who have a history of caring for unwanted or abused dogs or cats.

"Animals are dear to my heart," Weems said in 2008. When she lived in Oxford, she helped establish and run the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society in the 1970s,

"I knew a student who was entering Ole Miss who had rescued two dogs and she told me she was going to miss her pets," Weems said. "I wanted to create a scholarship for someone like this student, someone who is kind to those who can't take up for themselves."

Her artistic talents brightened the lives of many, a statement from Millsaps College says.

"Miriam embodied the true spirit of a creative individual that we so highly value at Millsaps College," Rob Pearigen, president of Millsaps, states. "She used her talents to brighten the world through her brushstrokes, and also strived to ensure her artwork benefited those less fortunate. She gave Phoebe and me a touchingly autographed copy of 'Miriam Weems: Mostly Mississippi' when we moved to the Belhaven neighborhood last year."

Weems would often donate her paintings to charities to raise funds for the Animal Rescue League in Jackson and the Oxford Animal Rescue League.

Miriam Wilson Weems was the wife of Tommy Weems and the mother of Sam D. Knowlton III of Oxford, and Richard Baxter Wilson Knowlton of Little Rock, Ark. She was the stepmother of Kelly Weems Wollfarth of Mandeville, La., Davis Weems Mitchell of Atlanta, Ga., and Caroline Weems Rushing of Aspen, Co.

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