Cover photo for Mary Sayre's Obituary

Mary Sayre

d. December 19, 2023

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mary Rosalie Cooper Sayre on December 19, 2023. Known best as Rosalie and later in life as Mary, she was a beautiful woman who passionately loved visual beauty in all its forms. In her life, she created many beautiful pieces of artwork, both sculpture and paintings, and graced the places she lived and the people she knew with her special aesthetic sense and charisma. 

The oldest of six children born in New Rochelle, New York, she moved with her family several times until they settled in Huntington, West Virginia. It was there she attended Huntington High School and Marshall University, and during which time she cultivated her interest in the arts and fashion through various modeling jobs and working in a clothing store. Shortly after graduating from Marshall, she met and married John Marshall Sayre. The couple moved to Macomb, Illinois to raise their two children, Anna and Jack (John Marshall). 

Rosalie taught high school art for most of the years living in Illinois. Concurrently, she worked on her master’s degree in psychology at Western Illinois University and delved into the art scene, taking classes in watercolor, sketching and sculpture. During this time, she encouraged Anna and Jack to explore their creativity by inviting them to attend her classes, enrolling then in music lessons and allowing them to try creative projects no matter how messy or involved.

The family moved to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the late 70s, where a few years later she and John divorced. It was in the summer of 1981 that Mary visited Santa Fe, New Mexico and fell in love with the climate, scenery and most of all, the art scene. She spent the following summer working in an art gallery, then returned to Santa Fe the next year to live permanently.

Rosalie flourished in Santa Fe. She worked in premiere galleries selling art to many famous people such as Robert Redford and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In addition to her career as an art salesperson, she made the most of her life in New Mexico hiking and traveling with friends. She owned a series of homes in Santa Fe and did some resident caretaking for an estate owner associated with the Santa Fe Opera. 

After a few decades of exposure to art inspired by the enchanting landscape she loved, Mary picked up a paintbrush and began producing oil paintings of her own. She successfully sold her artwork in a gallery in Oklahoma, in addition to installations in Santa Fe and the Taos valley. Encouraged by this, she purchased a property deep in the Northern New Mexico countryside with a 400 square foot studio that was conducive to painting. For a few years, she was highly prolific, painting stylized abstracts of the scenery and adobe architecture she saw all around her. When Parkinson’s disease took hold in the last decade of her life; she found it increasingly more difficult to paint and do many of the things she enjoyed. She was able to spend all but the last four years of her illness in her beloved home, only moving into a skilled nursing facility when her care needs became too great for her to live independently. 

The family of Mary Rosalie Cooper Sayre has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos.  866-657-4019

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Sayre, please visit our flower store.


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