Mary Daniel has graced the KOAR webpage image header since we first went online in April 2006. She was interviewed by Nancy Crane in the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1992 on the occasion of a posthumous one-person show of the work of Edward Fisk, professor in the University of Kentucky Art Department from 1926 to 1942. “Mary D. Lilly learned more than 50 years ago that sitting still doesn’t agree with her,” the article opened. “It was 1938 and she was posing for a portrait by artist Edward Fisk at his Hampton Court apartment. ‘It was the hardest thing I ever did to keep still that long.'” Mary Daniel (Lilly, after marriage) worked as Edward and Lucy Fisk’s housekeeper, not your typical artist’s model. “Lilly is not sure what about her caught the artist’s eye. ‘As an artist, I guess he saw something — the expression on my face or something — that he wanted to paint.'”
At the time this article was published, Mary Daniel Lilly at 77 was only semi-retired. One day a week “‘I still look after Allie,'” the Fisk’s daughter, “‘which I promised her mother when she was sick that I would do.'” However, most of Lilly’s time went to numerous volunteer activities, which she had begun fifteen years earlier as a way to “help cope with the death of her husband of 40 years, Marcellus.” Her remarkable energy and “dedication to the community has not gone unnoticed. In 1989 she was named Lexington’s Outstanding Volunteer by the Volunteer Center of the Bluegrass.” Fisk painted another portrait of the young Mary Daniel, too, seen at: http://www.edwardfisk.com/portrait/pages/port05.htm
I guess we will never know exactly what caught Fisk’s eye on that day in 1938, yet the indomitable spirit he clearly captured still illuminated Mary Daniel Lilly’s life fifty years later, just as it does ours now.