Enid Varian Ellison Cutler passed away Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, at Parkhouse Providence Point, a nursing facility in Royersford, Pa. She was born Sept. 27, 1921, to Harold Cornelius Ellison and Mary Louise Fitch Ellison and was raised in Webster Groves, Mo.
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Both her parents and her sisters, Mary Steppi and Barbara Fumagalli, chose art as a way of life and profession. From early on, Enid's own artistic aptitude was so apparent that in the midst of the Great Depression a portraiture client of Harold Ellison, her father, offered to pay Enid's tuition to the University of Iowa. There she received several honors and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1942, and a Master of Fine Arts in 1944.
It was also at the university that she met and married an economics major, Howard Armstrong Cutler of Webster City, Iowa, in 1943. Moving with her husband's career, she made homes in Georgia, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Alaska, raising three children.
Enid was a prolific artist all her life. Throughout her lifetime, she produced hundreds of works in a variety of mediums and on a range of subjects. Her work was displayed in venues around the country including Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
When approached to share her knowledge, enormous enthusiasm, and love for art, she accepted offers to teach at a variety of institutions, from universities to medical and retirement facilities.
Enid was highly social by temperament. Besides the arts, she was passionately concerned with politics, the natural environment and education; and she tirelessly supported the professional communities in which her husband served. Together, Enid and Howard built community wherever they went, actively seeking and creating occasions to recognize and celebrate the contributions of community members, students, faculty and staff.
At Pennsylvania State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, they worked as a warm and enthusiastic welcoming committee and outreach team, attending, planning and hosting social gatherings and communal events in town and on campus. While with the Institute for International Education in New York City, they traveled around the world, promoting international educational exchange.
After the passing of her beloved husband, Enid moved, in 2002, from Alaska to Pennsylvania to live with her daughter, Kristen, and son-in-law, Thomas Bissinger. With their support, she continued to produce and present her work unabated in one-woman and group shows at local galleries, such as The Chester Springs Art Studio and Phoenix Village Art Center.
Enid leaves behind a substantial artistic inventory of enormous variety.
Enid is survived by her sister, Barbara Fumagalli, of Camarillo, Calif.; three children, their spouses, their children, and their grandchildren; Cheryl Cutler, of Ashland, Ore.; Kristen Bissinger and husband Thomas Bissinger, of Pottstown, Pa.; their children, Esther Bissinger, of Tepotzlan, Mexico; and Zachary Bissinger and wife, Sunit Gill, and their children, Anand and Zareen, of Denver, Colo.; and Thor Cutler and wife, Joy, and their children, Cleopatra and Iris, of Burien, Wash.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Jan. 4, 2013