Virginia Pitts Rembert Liles

BIRMINGHAM Virginia Pitts Rembert Liles passed away July 5, 2013. She was the daughter of United Methodist Reverend Umsted S. Pitts and Hazel Hudson Pitts, an elementary school teacher. She was married to John Lamar Rembert III, who died in 1978. Virginia and John met while matriculating at Columbia University. After John experienced a stroke, Virginia took over his teaching responsibilities at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

Virginia earned a B.A. in Art and English from the Alabama College for Women (now University of Montevallo), an M.A. in Fine Arts and Fine Arts Education from Teachers' College, Columbia University, an M.A. in Art History from The University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University. Her teaching and administrative appointments were at Beloit College, Massachusetts College of Art, Birmingham-Southern College (Chair of Art Department), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Chair of Art Department), the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Donaghey Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History), and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (Chair of Art Department), from which she retired in 1990 as Professor Emeritus. She has written two books, one on Piet Mondrian and one on Hieronymus Bosch. These represent her two major research fields in modernist and abstract art in Europe and America, and on 15th and 16th Century art in Northern Europe. She also published articles in Art News and Women's Art Journal.

After retirement from college teaching, she lived in New York City from 1991 to 2006. In 1993, she married artist Raeford Bailey Liles. In 2006, they moved to their native city, Birmingham, Alabama, where she continued to write and follow her secondary interests of drawing and painting watercolors, and where Raeford had become a highly successful artist.

Virginia was predeceased by her parents, and brother, R. Marshall Pitts, M.D.

She is survived by her husband, Raeford Liles; sister, Carol Pitts Hovanec; cousins, Jenny Hudson and Robert Hudson (Barbara); nieces, Sister Mary Dominic Pitts and Cathryn “Caty” Pitts; and nephews, Robert M. “Bert” Pitts Jr. and Peter H. Pitts.

A family graveside funeral service was held Tuesday, July 9, 2013, at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham. A Memorial Service and Celebration of the Life of Virginia Rembert Liles will be held Saturday, August 3, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Ridout's Valley Chapel in Homewood.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be sent to the Arts and Sciences Scholarship Funds at any of the colleges where Virginia taught or studied.

Funeral Home

Ridout's Valley Chapel
1800 Oxmoor Road Homewood, AL 35209
(205) 879-3401

Published in Tuscaloosa News on July 10, 2013