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Marvel Leona Whiteleather1,2,3,4,5

b. 14 December 1915, d. 17 December 2002

Father Ray F. Whiteleather1 b. 15 November 1890, d. 1 November 1983
Mother Leona Leota Pyers1 b. 10 June 1894, d. 16 February 1974
Pop-up Pedigree

Family 1 Edwin H. "Ned" Wynn b. 15 December 1911, d. November 1977
Marriage*   Principal=Edwin H. "Ned" Wynn3 
Child  1. Wendy DeWitt Wynn b. 1943

Family 2 John Rice DeWitt b. 4 July 1901, d. April 1984
Marriage*   Principal=John Rice DeWitt 

Married Name   DeWitt 
Married Name   Wynn3 
Marriage*   Principal=Edwin H. "Ned" Wynn3 
Marriage*   Principal=John Rice DeWitt 
Birth* 14 December 1915  Canton, Stark Co., OH1,4 
Census* 1920  1920 Federal Census, Ohio, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, Ward 20, ED 397, Series: T625, Roll: 1366, Page: 134B, January 13
Sheet 10B, 9130 Birchdale Avenue
(enumerated with father, Ray Whiteleather)
71, 163, 143, Whiteleather, Marvelle, Daughter, , , F, W, 4, S, , , , , , Ohio, , Ohio, , Ohio, , , None, , ,1 
Census 1930  1930 Federal Census, Ohio, Stark County, Plain Township, ED 76-119, Series: T626, Roll: 1873, Page: 168B, May 9
Sheet 38B
(enumerated with father, Ray F Whiteleather)
72, 889, 913, Whiteleather, Marvel L, Daughter, , , , No, F, W, 14, S, , Yes, Yes, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , 59, , , , , Yes, None, , , , , , , ,2 
SSN* 17 December 2002  Marvel WYNN
Birth Date: 14 Dec 1915
Death Date: 17 Dec 2002
Social Security Number: 297-05-7635
State or Territory Where Number Was Issued: Ohio
Death Residence Localities
ZIP Code: 04074
Localities: Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine
Death Benefit Localities
Zip Code: 04552
Localities: Newagen, Lincoln, Maine4 
Death* 17 December 2002  Scarborough, Cumberland Co., ME4,3 

Author: Joshua L. Weinstein

You wouldn't think she'd be a big fan of beige. After all, Marvel Leona Whiteleather Wynn was an artist, a strikingly beautiful woman, an adventurous lady. Yet in her closet, there must have been 35 beige coats, 35 beige blouses. The fact is, though, Mrs. Wynn didn't need anything flashy. She herself was all the color that anyone needed.

Even when she died on Tuesday, at age 87, she was beautiful. Her eyes, deep blue with a hint of green, sparkled as always, up until the end. "She had a luminous beauty to her," said a daughter, Holly Wynn Borden. Borden actually is Mrs. Wynn's stepdaughter, but the distinction was unimportant. Mrs. Wynn treated her like a daughter. This was, Borden said, "in an era before the term `blended families' had been coined."

Another daughter, Wendy Taylor, said her mother's passions were family and art. "She lived and breathed art," Taylor said. "When she was in her late 70s, she went to a workshop at Bennington College, and that's when she did the self-portrait." In Mrs. Wynn's world, there always was more to do. Another canvas on the easel, another project to undertake.

When she was in her 70s, she bought a keyboard and learned to play the piano. "When she was 80," Taylor said, "she went to Vienna with a very close friend. The reason for their trip was a wedding, but she always wanted to go there." So she did.

"She never considered herself old," her daughter explained. "I think she had absolutely no sense of how old she was. And she behaved accordingly." Not that she was silly, because she was not. Rather, she was elegant. Seductive, even. She was put off by bad manners, but was, her son-in-law Michael Taylor said, "very sweet and charming." He explained that she drew people in, made them feel as if they were in the presence of an old and close friend.

"Marvel continued to engage life as a new adventure," he said. "She nurtured her old friendships and made new ones - many of them 20 to 40 years younger than herself." On her 87th birthday, Dec. 14, she celebrated. Despite colon cancer, she was not focused on dying. "She never was," Michael Taylor said. "She was always alive and enjoyed the moment.

Appeared in the Portland Press Herald (ME) - Thursday, December 19, 2002
News/Obit 19 December 2002  WYNN , MARVEL L. WHITELEATHER

WYNN, MARVEL L. WHITELEATHER - 87, of Scarborough, in Scarborough, Dec. 17. Memorial service 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Williston-West Church, U.C.C., 32 Thomas St., Portland. Ashes buried in Spring in family plot, Minerva, Ohio.

Appeared in the Portland Press Herald (ME), December 19-21, 20023 
News/Obit 26 December 2002  Marvel Wynn

Marvel Leona Whiteleather Wynn, 87, died December 17 in her home at Piper Shores, Scarborough.

She was born unexpectedly on December 14, 1915 at her grandmother's house in Canton Ohio, the second of four children of Ray and Leona Whiteleather. Weighing only four pounds at birth, her mother said she was truly a "Marvel," a name that suited her throughout her life.

She grew up in Canton, Ohio and graduated in the class of 1934 at Canton McKinley High School where she was secretary of her class.

Mrs. Wynn was an artist all of her life, drawing on a talent that ran in her family. She received her first oil paint set at the age of 14, a gift from her parents. Her first serious painting was a likeness of Betsy Ross, which she gave to her school principal who hung it in his office. She began seriously studying art at the Margaret Morrison school at the then Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburgh. She later studied at the Cleveland Art Institute, taking classes with one of her favorite painters, John Tyrol.

During her career, she also studied with figure painters Sigmund Abeles and Jan DeRuth. Her work has appeared in the National Painting Show at the Butler Institute of Art in Youngstown, Ohio, the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, and in one-person shows at Bowdoin College, the Performing Arts Center and the Portland Ballet Company. She has had several one-person shows at the Mast Cove Galleries in Kennebunkport where she exhibited for 22 years. In 1975, she received the International Women's Year Award for "outstanding cultural contributions and dedication to women and art."

She painted primarily figures of women, although occasionally a man, a landscape, or a seascape would draw her attention. Describing her own work, she said, "Most of my subjects have eyes." She was greatly influenced by artists Gustav Klimpt and Will Barnet.

Mrs. Wynn's attachment to Maine began in 1957 when she spent a two-week vacation on Southport Island. "That did it," she said. "I couldn't forget the surf and the seagulls!" Several years later she moved from Cleveland, Ohio to become a year-round resident of Southport Island where she had a spacious studio. In 1984, she moved to Yarmouth where she enjoyed painting in her studio overlooking the Royal River.

She continued to make friends throughout her life and enjoyed keeping in touch with her many friends from Ohio, Southport Island, Yarmouth, and Piper Shores.

She was predeceased by her first husband, John Rice DeWitt; her second husband, Edwin (Ned) H. Wynn; and her sister, Elizabeth Seymour.

Survivors include her sister, Molly Denniston of Deerfield Beach, Florida; her brother, Thomas Whiteleather of Sebring, Florida; her daughter, Wendy DeWitt Taylor and her husband Dr. J. Michael Taylor of Portland; her daughter, Holly Wynn Borden and her husband Thomas L. Borden of Canton, Ohio; and grandchildren, Paul Wynn Borden, Valerie Wynn Borden, Jennifer Taylor Hendrick and her husband Bud, Laura Taylor Singer and her husband Jonathan, and Andrew F. Taylor and his wife, Lisa.

A memorial service was held on Saturday, December 21 at Williston-West Church, U.C.C., 32 Thomas Street in Portland. Her ashes will be buried in the spring in the White-leather family plot in the rolling farmland of Minerva, Ohio where her parents are buried.

Should friends so desire, donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the United Way of Greater Portland, 400 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04112, or to a charity of their choice.

Arrangements by Conroy-Tully Funeral Home, 172 State Street, Portland.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter
-- E. E. Cummings

Appeared in the Maine Journal 
Burial* 2003  Moultrie Chapel Cemetery, Moultrie, Columbiana Co., OH 
News/Obit* 23 October 2009  Portland Press Herald, Friday, October 23, 2009

Marvel-ous in Mixed Media

Submitted by Jamie Thompson on Sat, 11/15/2008

Painting by Marvel Wynn

Art is about discovery. We can discover things about ourselves, about others, and about the world just by examining a piece of artwork. Other times, stumbling upon an unfamiliar artist can spark a discovery of great proportions.

I recently came across the artwork of Marvel Wynn through a private collection. I was immediately drawn to the artist's simplistic style, her bold use of color, and her consummate skill at portraying a variety of emotions through such familiar forms. I had never heard her name before, so I decided to do a little research to find out more.

Marvel Wynn Whiteleather was born in 1915 in Canton, Ohio. She was an artist from a very young age, continuing the artistic sensibility that ran in her family. She received her first oil paint set from her parents at age 14 and began studying art at the Margaret Morrison school at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon).

Painting by Marvel Wynn

She also studied at the Cleveland Art Institute under one of her favorite artists, John Tyrol, as well as with figure painters Sigmund Abeles and Jan DeRuth. In 1957, Marvel spent a two week vacation in Southport Island, which began a life-long love affair with Maine. Her work has appeared in the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, the Bowdoin Museum of Art in Brunswick, and Mast Cove Galleries in Kennebunkport, where she exhibited for 22 years.

Marvel painted figures of women almost exclusively, yet she did paint a landscape from time to time. Her style is very much reminiscent of Gustav Klimt, the Austrian Art Nouveau master. The hard angles and bold juxtapositions of color and pattern of Marvel's paintings serve to emphasize her subjects' emotional qualities. There is a true vulnerability at the heart of Marvel's work which I find inspiring.

In 1975 Marvel received the International Women's Year Award for Outstanding Cultural Contributions and Dedication to Women in Art, and in 1984 moved to Yarmouth, painting in a studio that overlooked the Royal River. She passed away at age 87 in 2002.

It is unfortunate that many people have never heard of Marvel nor seen her work. The beauty of discovery, however, is that we may share what we find with others. I hope you enjoy Marvel's work as much as I do, and are inspired to search out new art and artists that will expand your mind.

Last Edited 23 Oct 2009

  1. [S247] 1920 U.S. Federal Census , 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
  2. [S248] 1930 U.S. Federal Census , 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  3. [S323] News Bank.
  4. [S129] SSDI Death Index,.
  5. [S612] News Bank.

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