01/10/1927 - 09/03/2019
Ginny Williams, Art Collector and Gallery Owner, Passes Away at 92.
Ginny Lee Williams, longtime resident of Denver, Colorado, passed away Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019. She died peacefully at her home, surrounded by her children and loved ones. She was 92 years old. Widely known in Denver Art Circles and both the National and International Contemporary Art Communities, Ginny's passion for Life, Love of Art and unquenchable curiosity touched the lives of countless people.
Ginny was born in rural Orange County, Virginia in 1927, the middle child of 3. Raised and educated during the Great Depression by a single mother widowed by tuberculosis, Ginny's larger than life persona, fearlessness and exuberance for life were obvious from a very young age. After earning her bachelor's degree in English at Mary Washington College, Ginny moved West to Cheyenne, Wyoming to become a High School English teacher. This is where she would meet and marry Carl Williams, a cowboy turned fighter pilot with a law degree and big business dreams. Together they and their friends commercialized the cable industry in the United States. She has called Denver home ever since.
In her early 50's she went through a renaissance in her life pushing the boundaries of her physical limitations, exploring Outward Bound programs and decided to go back to school in order to complete her Masters in Art History at Colorado Women's College. For as long as anyone can remember Ginny was never seen without a camera hanging over her shoulder so it was a natural next step to open a photography gallery in Denver. Her love of photography quickly evolved into a passion for contemporary art and so she opened the iconic Ginny Williams Gallery. Known for its locked doors and astonishing display of contemporary masterpieces, the low- profile black building at 3rd and Fillmore evolved into an enigmatic preeminence exceeded only by that of the owner herself. Those doors were not always locked and Ginny gained prominence in the contemporary art community in Denver during the 80's and 90's, hosting many large openings in her gallery that brought patrons and artists together. During this period she also joined the board of trustees at the Denver Art Museum.
As Ginny's operations inevitably gravitated to New York and beyond, she became active on the boards of several major art institutions, including the Guggenheim in New York and Washington's Hirschhorn museum, a branch of the Smithsonian. The one-time farm girl called New York's Carlyle Hotel her home away from home and yet always recognized Denver as her heart's favorite, where her Donald Judd-inspired glass house on Denver's Cranmer Park stands in glorious defiance of the traditional structures it effortlessly eclipses.
Ginny defied categorizations as fast as they were applied: flamboyant, eclectic, exuberant, free-spirited, outspoken, self-entitled, eccentric - the one constant was her defiance of convention and all these trades were held in perfect counterpoise by her natural humility, sentimentality, and Southern charm. Only one thing superseded Ginny's love for art and that was her complete devotion to her family and friends. Ginny will long be remembered for her malapropisms and aphorisms, delivered with Southern drawl that stubbornly defied 6 decades of Denver living. A sample includes: "I was born in Virginia, that means I was born entitled." And the sage "...I just don't get why we have to die."
Ginny is survived by her daughter, Elle Williams, her son Michael Williams and her three grandchildren Michael Hopkins, Cody Heselton and Lee Heselton.
Memorial services will be held at 2pm Saturday September 14th, 2019, at Fairmount Cemetery's main Chapel, 430 S Quebec St., Denver Colorado 80247, ph. 303-399-0692, to be followed by interment close to the Chapel.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations be made to the Council for Art Education in Ginny's memory: http://councilforarteducation.org/