Marybeth Coulter was born on September 3, 1942 in Enid, Oklahoma and died on June 27, 2023 at Westlake Garden Square in Greeley, Colorado. Her charismatic, beautiful, and adventurous spirit has touched everyone who has known her and she will be greatly missed.
As a young girl growing up on the farm, Marybeth was moved by the vast starry skies and by the way the rain shimmered on the golden wheat. This was the start of a love affair with color and light which led her to ultimately become an artist. She often said that when she was seven years old, she was brought to tears when she was shown a Monet print for the first time. She also liked to reminisce about her first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye and taking her first picture of a Spanish style house which was next to her elementary school. While she would eventually become talented in the visual arts, she was best known in her early years as an accomplished pianist and earned a music scholarship to Lindenwood College.
On December 21, 1961, Marybeth married Gary Theilen and gave birth to two children, David and Cathy. She was known to be an energetic mother and wife who planned many travels to exciting places like New York City and Rocky Mountain National Park. The family moved from Enid, Oklahoma to Morgantown, West Virginia where Marybeth studied piano at West Virginia University. Seeking a reprieve from the tediousness of music school, she began studying pottery which eventually changed the trajectory of her artistic career and personal life. After moving back to Enid from Morgantown, Marybeth opened her first successful studio called Prairie Flower Pottery. She also helped manage the family farm operations, completed a master’s degree in education at Phillips University in 1982, and was a 4th grade teacher for several years. Marybeth was a very active and health conscious person who practiced yoga and pilates, hiked, ran, biked, enjoyed playing tennis and cross country skiing.
While attending a 1981 ceramics workshop at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado, she met Daniel Rhodes, a professional ceramicist who would become her mentor. The two eventually married on December 30, 1986 in Davenport, CA and she lived there until Daniel’s death in 1989, at which time, she moved closer to family in Colorado. Marybeth’s ceramics career continued to grow and she was awarded Best of Colorado at the The Arvada Center of the Arts in Denver, CO in 1992. Her porcelain work was accepted into The Esmay Gallery in Rochester, NY.
Marybeth always set up “Prairie Flower Pottery” studios wherever she happened to be living at the time, in Boulder, Estes Park, and Greeley Colorado. She also built a beautiful home and studio near Lake Chapala in Ajijic, Mexico where she lived for five years. It was there that she was a featured ceramicist at the Museum of Art in Guadalajara. During her Greeley years, Marybeth became drawn to the world of digital photography which reinvigorated her early love of capturing images. To achieve a unique painterly style, she manipulated her photos with Photoshop to reflect her lifelong passion for color. Marybeth’s photos have been shown at the Northern New Mexico Art Gallery in Santa Fe, in the Tointon Gallery in Greeley, and can be found in a photography book she published called “May A Thousand Colors Bloom”.
Marybeth’s family and friends have always admired her creative spirit which she often credits to being a “cowgirl” who grew up on a farm and lived in the southwest. By her definition, “a cowgirl is: spirited, confident, strong, full of life, gutsy, sparkling”, all of which aptly described her. She also hoped that all who see her artwork will “experience the playfulness, joy, and happiness I feel” when she produced her work.
Marybeth was preceded in death by her father and mother, Herb and Willa Mac Coulter and her brother, David Coulter.
Her surviving family include: Billie (sister) and Thad Pawlikowski, Catherine and Thayne Stacey and David and Sandy Theilen, Annette and Marcus Worthman, Tanner and Haley Theilen, Sydney Theilen, Roxanne Stacey, Jackson and Sarah Theilen, Coulter Theilen, Oakley Theilen, Marilyn Eloise Worthman, and Rhett Theilen as well as many nieces, nephews, and their children.