Marilyn Johnston Mertz passed away at home on Monday, July 2, 2018. Graveside services will be at Fairmount Cemetery at 10:00AM, Friday, July 6 followed by services at First Presbyterian Church at 11:00 AM. Marilyn was an artist, architect, craftsman, and entertainer. She loved the land and sky and every unique horizon that she could capture in her paintings. There was nothing that she could not create or fix, or at least make it work for a long time. She loved to entertain and knew how to make guests feel welcome. She was a rare mix of wit, color, and fun. She was born at home on Hackberry Creek near Farmers Branch, Texas on February 20, 1925 to Katherine Duke and Bob Johnston. The Johnston family moved to San Angelo, Texas in 1927 where they leased the XQZ ranch between Knickerbocker and Christoval, for twenty years. Later she spent time on the family owned Red Top Ranch in Southeastern Colorado. Marilyn's love of art began early as she took lessons in school beginning at Santa Rita elementary school through graduation from San Angelo High school in 1942. In 1944 she earned an associate degree in art at Hockaday Junior College, winning the Alexander Hogue prize in painting. She then went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1946. She proceeded with graduate studies in Art at the University of Texas at Austin. She married Joseph Mayer Mertz on February 22, 1955 and moved to a ranch near Pie Town, New Mexico. It was on the ranch that Marilyn's interests and talent in art, architecture and woodworking blossomed. Together Marilyn and Joe made art in a variety of mediums and soon began traveling to other locations around the state producing and selling art. Moving into Albuquerque in 1963 so that their daughters could begin public school, she quickly joined the Yucca Gallery Artist Cooperative and produced paintings that were sold in Taos and Santa Fe. The Albuquerque artist community suited her and she was selected at this time as a member of the National League of American Pen Women. She entered the New Mexico State Fair Fine Arts Division yearly and in 1965 won first prize for a pastel of her husband and brother-in-law "Cowboying". In 1966 she won an Honorable Mention for the watercolor "Street Fair". The family returned to San Angelo in 1968 where she continued to share art by teaching classes through the Jr. League of San Angelo. She co-owned the Yellow Bird Gallery from 1971 to 1982 offering her own original works of art and pieces by Texas, New Mexico, and New York artists. She was a founding board member and the first president of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. She was a Signature Member of the Texas Watercolor Society. She was a founding member of the Junior League of San Angelo, and served the community on the Fairmount Cemetery Board, San Angelo Lake Board, and Fort Concho National Historic Landmark Board. She is survived by her husband, Joe M. Mertz; three daughters, Katie M. and husband Gary Johnson, Margaret M. and husband Bill Iott, and Joan M. Mertz; four grandchildren, Joe P. Johnson, Molly Johnson, Mary B. and husband Daniel McGiffin, and Bryan Buechler; four great grandsons, Brendan, David, Matthew, and James McGiffin; a sister, Ruth J. Lott; and nephew David H. Lott, Jr. She is preceded in death by her parents and brother, Bob Johnston, Jr., and brother-in-law David H. Lott, Sr. Memorials may be made to Friends of Fairmount Cemetery P. O Box 3522, San Angelo TX 76902-3522 or Fort Concho National Historic Landmark, 630 South Oaks St., San Angelo, TX 76903 or WTRC'S Hospice of San Angelo, 36 E. Twohig, Ste 1100, San Angelo, TX 76903.
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