Bachelor, College St. Mary, 1967.
Art teacher Ralston (Nebraska) Public Schools, 1967-1973, Father Flanagan's Boys Home, Boys Town, Nebraska, 1973-1975. Board directors Alliance of Arts Council, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1975. Chairman Visual Arts Commission, Loveland, Colorado, 1990-1991.
Member Allied Artists American, Loveland (Colorado) Sculpture Group.
Mother died Sunday, 31 January 2016.
She was a woman of many facets: she was the apple of her father’s eye, his little princess who never recovered from him leaving her and the rest of their family when she was nine; she was a fierce, athletic competitor once breaking an opponent’s arm in a basketball game; she loved acting and participated in all of the plays in her high school; she broke horses for fun and was once stomped by one with a stronger will than hers; she fished and hunted injuring her hearing from shooting too many pheasants hunts; she married and went with her husband to Washington to work on the development of early nuclear reactors in Hanford, WA during World War II; during this time she almost died during a surgery and was saved by a nun who was wheeling her to the morgue and saw that she was still breathing; she lived in Pritchett, CO, her hometown, with her husband while he taught in the high school and in the summers they went to Estes Park working in the lodge at Bear Lake where she read palms and led trail rides and waited tables; she adopted two children and raised them in a safe home; she made special dance dresses and drove Cathy and me to school in Omaha, in the winter over icy and snowy roads; she made dinner for us every day. She went back to college in her mid-40s when no one was a non-traditional student. Since that time, Mother has been truly nontraditional. For her senior art show, she had over 120 pieces of art ranging from painting, to pottery, to wood sculpture, to a six-foot tall rebellion bird made of red-stained glass, she “convinced” a stained glass company to give her, and welded metal – the “normal senior art” show might have 20 pieces.
Mother began her teaching career and developed an award winning art program in Ralston, NE. She then was hired by Boys Town where she created their art department and gave the boys a creative outlet. During this time, she also took up lost wax-casting creating beautiful jewelry which her husband finished off with beautifully cut and polished stones.
When they retired to Loveland in 1976, Mother continued her jewelry creations. In additional she directed the remodeling of their first home in Loveland and completed two van conversions so they could continue the fishing and camping that they both loved.
In 1989, Mother, looking for a new outlet, began working in bronze. She participated in a variety of shows in Colorado and Arizona and had a one-person show at a SoHo gallery in New York City. In 1991, she was a co-founder of the Loveland Invitational Sculpture Show.
Mother’s art work is in private, public and institutional collections around the United States.
People describing Mother called her ornery, feisty, opinionated, flashy, showy, independent, direct. Her husband of 67 years loved to say, “Your Mother gets all of her exercise jumping to conclusions and she never let the facts get in the way of a good story. “ Mother had many good stories, some of which expanded over the years to make events more fantastic.
Her 100 year old sister said after Mother’s death, “Thelma had a good heart, she just had trouble letting anyone know it.”
Now, she doesn’t have to worry about anyone knowing her heart because God sees into her soul.
Daughter of William Lee Cotton and Myrtle Mae (Quiet) Cotton-Winston. Married Andrew Anthony Weresh, January 28, 1939. Children: Charlotte Maria, Catherine Annual.