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Mary Sims, 1940-2004

Noted artist dies in Eureka Springs.

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Noted artist dies in Eureka Springs.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 30th, for noted artist Mary Sims, who died May 19th at her home in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Although she spent the past three decades living in Arkansas with her husband, writer Bill Earngey, Sims was considered a Memphis painter, and homes throughout this area carry her detailed and imaginative portraits and landscapes. Her paintings are also in the private collections of John Grisham, Burt Reynolds, and Mary Tyler Moore.

Sims' work blended a photographic eye for detail with whimsical elements, and anyone who commissioned a portrait from Sims knew the result might contain odd plants, strange clothing or uniforms, or even monkeys. In a memorial notice published last week in The Commercial Appeal, Sims was quoted as saying, "I paint because I love what things look like, and I love to explore them, down to the thread in the buttonhole."

Born in Jackson, Tennessee, Sims studied at the University of Iowa and Tulane University. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she taught art at Southwestern (now Rhodes College). Her father was Lydel Sims, longtime columnist for the CA and, later, the Flyer.

The service will be held at the David Lusk Gallery, 4540 Poplar. n

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