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Mary-Amy Cross Hentschel

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Mary-Amy Cross Hentschel Obituary
Mary-Amy Cross Hentschel, Artist, of Bedford died on Oct. 5 at the age of 88. Her lineage has been traced back to the Mayflower, and to a signer of the Declaration of Independence (Josiah Bartlett). From earliest childhood, growing up in Providence, Mary-Amy always wanted to be an artist. Her fathers first cousin, Norman Rockwell, saw her early drawings and felt she had talent. He paid for her to go to art school, at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York, where she majored in illustration. Once Norman asked her opinion about a Saturday Evening Post cover he was painting, and she was excited when he used her idea. After graduation she illustrated childrens books and designed greeting cards for the Norcross Greeting Cards Company. Ever since, she designed individual self-made birthday cards and her own Christmas cards that were cherished by all her relatives and friends. While living in New York she met Frederick Cross who became her husband in 1951. Following a six month honeymoon to Europe, where she documented her trip in watercolors, she settled down in the Boston area, and then in Bedford to raise three sons. Once the boys were raised there was time for a new career, painting rocks. She transformed smooth rocks from New Englands rocky shores into three-dimensional life-like owls, rabbits, cats, raccoons and the like, and the occasional person. After seeing her painted rocks, Norman Rockwell sent a note to Mary-Amy, saying I think it is wonderful that you are experimenting in different media. You certainly show real talent, and I am proud to be related to you. Although Mary-Amy started rock painting for the fun of it, she soon found herself in business. The painted stones were sold at craft fairs and juried art fairs throughout New England for 30 years. She once wrote, For me this is the perfect job | I can make business trips to the beach to get the rocks, Im my own boss, and I thoroughly enjoy creating my own animals, birds, and people from the stones. Its always a challenge to discover who or what may be hiding in the various odd shaped rocks, just waiting for me to bring them out with my paint brush. Her work was recognized with various awards. Mary-Amys rock portrait of Sarah Caldwell was awarded first prize for crafts from the Concord Art Association. She also received several first and second prizes for paintings from the Bedford Arts & Crafts Societys annual outdoor show. Mary-Amys first husband, Frederick Cross, died in 1992. In 1999, she married William Hentschel. They spent time travelling, and enjoying the outdoors, and especially canoeing well into their 80s. Later, as the rocks got heavier, Mary-Amy found that house portraits done in watercolor were a better way to go. Mary-Amy Cross Hentschel is survived by her husband William Hentschel, her brother the Very Reverend J. Robert Orpen, Jr. of Chicago, and her three sons: Kelvin Cross and his wife Caren of Charlestown, Peter Cross and his wife Maria of Braintree, and Gregory Cross and his wife Carolyn of Easton; along with her grandchildren Emma Cross, Julia Cross, and Diana Cross. A memorial service will be held on Saturday October 16 at 2 p.m. at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Bedford. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the .

Published in The Boxborough Beacon from Oct. 8 to Oct. 15, 2010
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