There was a disturbance in the Force early on January 18, 2016 when artist and iconoclast Susan Joyce Harris Weimer (“Biba”) died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 93.
Born in Bronxville, NY in 1922, Biba was the daughter of George Edgerly Harris and Ruth Colony Harris SoRelle, both also artists and iconoclasts. Biba completed high school in Margaretville, where her family has lived for generations, before joining the Navy, serving as a gunnery instructor and a very young platoon leader.
Marriage to Flying Yeoman Don Robert Weimer took her to Wooster and Cleveland, Ohio, where Biba earned a BFA from Wooster College and Ohio University, an MA and MEd from Case Western Reserve and the Cleveland Institute of Art, and an MFA from Kent State University. A single mother, Biba raised her three children at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Karamu House, giving them not only food and shelter, but also a world where the spirit can grow. And always she painted and drew, producing a prolific and powerful lifetime of work which was featured in the 2012 book Unbowed: the Paintings of Susan Joyce Weimer.
In 1969 Biba joined the faculty at Edinboro University of PA, where she was a professor of painting, drawing and printmaking until her retirement. She traveled and showed her work extensively, visiting West Africa, Europe, Hong Kong, the UK and Bahrain. Missing the sea, she moved to Ocean Springs, MS in 2001. She had exhibitions at the George Orr Museum in Biloxi and elsewhere until Hurricane Katrina drove her north to Brandon, MS. She lived in Brandon until 2013, when she moved to Albuquerque, NM to be near granddaughters Sarah Rose (Billy Browne) and Tessa Rose (Pete Salas Jr). Here she continued to grow as an artist even as her life force began to burn out.
Biba spent her last days in the loving company of family and friends – and of course her cherished dog, Winkle, and cat, Sam. She is survived by three children, Dale (John) Rose of Corona, NM; Don (Christine Linder) Weimer of Milwaukee, WI, and Christopher (Connie) Weimer of Denver, CO. She also leaves five grandchildren – Sarah, Tessa, Nicole (Greg Busch) Weimer of Ellicott City, MD; Jonathan Weimer of Milwaukee; and Dévon Weimer of Denver. She loved being a great-grandmother to Kestrel Rose Browne of Albuquerque and Josephine and Charles Busch of Ellicott City.
She is also survived by sister-in-law, Ann M. Harris of Margaretville; nieces, Jayne Anne Harris of Delhi, Eloise Harris Damone of NY and Mary Lou Harris of NY; and nephews, Walter Michael Harris, Frederic Harris, and their families. She was predeceased by her brother, George Edgerly Harris II in 2005; and nephew, George Edgerly Harris III in 1982. She also leaves behind beloved friend Julie Tucker of Cleveland, Ohio; and a loving circle of people in Albuquerque, including JoAnn Smith, Sarah Montoya, Rachael England, Seth Hoffman, Debbie Good, Pam Maples, Octavio Alcantar, John Van Dyke, and everyone at Java Joes. Special thanks also to Visiting Angels, Hospice of New Mexico, Jennifer Fiordelisi, Presbyterian House Calls and the wonderful staff at The Retreat Gardens.
Life with Biba was never dull. Life without her will never be the same.
A celebration of her life is planned for January 24, 2016 at her home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Karamu House (Tony Sias, 216-795-7070). Please visit our online guest book for Biba at www.FrenchFunerals.com.