A Tribute to Hallmark Master Artist Mary Hamilton

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Our beloved Mary Hamilton, Master Artist, who worked at Hallmark for 60 years, passed away Friday evening.

Mary retired from Hallmark in 2015 after a long and distinguished career. Over the years, her soft and distinctive watercolors graced thousands of card designs and have been a constant a source of inspiration for a variety of Hallmark products, including gifts and ornaments.

Her artistry was often described as spontaneous, effortless and organic. She had a unique ability to bring extraordinary innocence and sweetness to life through her illustrations.

While Mary had an avid following and often received fan mail from consumers who adored her work, her biggest fans were those of us at Hallmark who were lucky enough to work with her. She would quietly but confidently share her wisdom and perspective with so many of us. And while she would often talk about her charming bears, angels and other illustrations, the depth of her conversations went far beyond technique to include things like emotion, human connection and the importance of storytelling.

Reflecting on her legacy today, it’s clear that she was more than a successful and prolific artist.  Her quiet, humble character combined with her generous and caring spirit won her love and respect from all who knew her.

Mary embodied the purpose of Hallmark’s creative community. She was a storyteller, maker, inventor and explorer. And perhaps even more important, she was an ever-present teacher, mentor and a friend to many across the company.

In so many ways, Mary made our days more beautiful. We will miss her.

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  1. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Sharon wrote:

    I work for hallmark & when I talk about Mary’s ornaments & that she started with hallmark right out of school customers are amazed . Her ornaments have always been a good seller. I have a number my self. Thank you Mary Hamilton for your talent & designs.

  2. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Joyce A Johnson wrote:

    I am truly saddened by the passing of Mary Hamilton. I have loved her art and her ornaments for most of my life. They’re were always so adorable. Especially her little angels. I will miss her her talent. My condolences to her Hallmark family and her family.

  3. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Sue Wardrip wrote:

    Beautiful work by an extremely talented artist. Her work always brings a smile to my face. She will be dearly missed.

  4. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Pam Caudy wrote:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I loved her work. We will miss you Mary

  5. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Sherry Ratcliffe wrote:

    Mary’s talents and kind gentle nature were the epitome of what we all aspire to. Those of us at Hallmark that were privileged enough to work with and get to know Mary are better for it. RIP Mary. Your Legacy will live on and you will not be forgotten.

  6. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Dana wrote:

    We love you, Mary. Thanks for being part of our lives.

  7. 1.23.17 | Reply
    Leigh wrote:

    That is a very moving tribute! Thank you for sharing.

  8. 1.24.17 | Reply
    Arlene Doll Hebert Threeton Raxsdale wrote:

    Loved her little animal depictions, especially the bears as Hebert pronounced A-bear is a family name.

  9. 1.24.17 | Reply
    Teresa wrote:

    I’m so sorry to hear that Mary is gone. I loved her work and meeting her at the conventions. Mary is now an angel in heaven just like Mary’s Angels.

  10. 1.24.17 | Reply
    Jane Bigham wrote:

    I have had a lot of good days since I started selling and collecting in 1989, but my BEST Hallmark day ever was having lunch with Mary and visiting her in her home. It is a memory I will cherish forever. Mary was so humble and I don’t think she ever understood how dearly she was loved by the Hallmark collectors. I love every Hallmark item that bears her name… and will treasure my signed pieces even more now….they will always bring a smile to my face. My prayers are with the family now as they adjust to her passing. I am sure her family will be missing her just as her Hallmark family will be missing her as well. Jane Bigham

  11. 1.24.17 | Reply
    Kathryn M Durning wrote:

    I am so sad that Mary Hamilton passed on. I collected all (so far) the Mary’s Angels for my daughter Mary (of course). Rest in peace.

  12. 1.24.17 | Reply
    wendie collins wrote:

    Very nice tribute…but sorry to say, the one photo of a left handed artist is not Mary. You might want to check to be sure.

    Mary was a true gem. Love you, Mary.

    • 1.25.17 | Reply
      Think.Make.Share wrote:

      Thanks, Wendie. All of the photos here were provided by Mary. She just may have been using her left for the photo 😉

  13. 1.24.17 | Reply
    Joddi Osthimer wrote:

    I met Mary several years ago. After meeting her I could see her personality reflected in her art. Loved Mary’s bears. She’ll be truly missed.

  14. 1.24.17 | Reply
    Kim wrote:

    I’m so very sorry to here this! I have purchased 5 (one for me and one for each of my children) of Mary’s angels since the very first one, plus the specials. I have a tree that is just angels and hers were the first ones I placed on that tree. We also have some of her bears. Please let her family and all who loved her at Hallmark how sorry we are. Thank you for such wonderful products!

  15. 1.25.17 | Reply
    merrily johnson wrote:

    The world needs more “Mary’s.” What a pleasure to have worked with her in my early days at Hallmark. Most people will never know what it is like to love a job, no a lifestyle, for 60 years! My thoughts are with my beloved Hallmark.

  16. 1.25.17 | Reply
    Maycille Raab wrote:

    She had the most beautiful handwriting and smile. She would sign anything you gave her with a smile and remembered you if she had talked to you at any of the conventions you might have attended before. We have a signed picture by her and will always cherish it. Mary you were a beautiful lady inside and out. Will be missed by many.

  17. 1.26.17 | Reply
    Roger Hutchings wrote:

    I was so pleased to have met with Mary when I spent a couple of weeks in the studio at KC.
    She had a unique talent and was an inspiration to us all.
    Roger

  18. 1.26.17 | Reply
    Beth Sova wrote:

    I work for Hallmark as a retail merchandiser. I have loved Mary’s work as long as I can remember. Rest in peace Mary…. God Bless you… Beth Sova

  19. 1.27.17 | Reply
    Anne Pape wrote:

    On the day I received my First Communion in 1969, my grandparents gave me a special book, God Is Everywhere, illustrated by Mary. Her artwork soon inspired me, and as a little girl I attempted to draw many little children like Mary’s. After many years I have returned to my art, specifically watercolors, and use her work as inspiration. Fortunately, I have saved many cards that I have received over the years with her precious illustrations. Last year I purchased a beautiful book about the Nativity with Mary’s humble illustrations of the Holy Family, which is now part of our Christmas. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story. Mary and her family are in my prayers.

  20. 1.27.17 | Reply

    She was “an artist and was serious about her [stuff].” -Erykah Badu

    I appreciate that I had the opportunity to watch Mary paint. She was a quiet soul and fully committed after decades of doing the work. Thanks for honoring her.

  21. 1.27.17 | Reply

    My mom and I love and are big fans of her work. I know that my mom and I have bought many Hallmark cards that look exactly like and were her paintings of flowers and we were a fan of her work. Her flowers are so soft and are soothing to the mind.I also have this photo album that I had found right after I lost my mom. She must had made right after she went back to Japan to see her sisters and brothers that she was adopted away from when she was three years old. Her sister had found out where all of her siblings were living at that time, that was 50 years later for my mom. way back when you just peeled back and stuck the pictures in them and I had never seen it beforehand. We all looked at the beautiful photographs and I never asked her to see them again by time that she had gotten an aggressive form of cancer and passed on suddenly in a year after my father had passed on suddenly at only 65 as well. About a year later I had reconnected with my husband and moved from Ohio to Arizona. My husband helped me grab everything in their house that was sentimental and I donated the Rest. The AMAZING THING THAT I WANT TI TELL YOU IS THAT: After,I had lost my mom and I was unpacking and organizing stuff, I found that photo album with the exact same flower art as my mom made the photo album from Hallmark with her pictures from Japan in as the exact same pictures of flowers that was Mary’s design on stationary that I had picked out a few days earlier when I was in a Hallmark store and remembering all of the times that me and my mom had went shopping together there. I had never seen that photo album and I ended picking up the exacts same flower design painting or artwork. I took that as a sign that my mother was watching over me.Ialso found a tiny gold cross with a bow around it, that is the size of a broach on my nightstand nest to my bed that Ihad never had or seen before in my life. I asked my husband if he had found it and put it next to my bed and he said no that he never saw it before. I knoew before that when I found it that it was from my mom. Mary may have passed on, but I want her to know that our loved ones are indeed still with us. I have gotten so many signs that definitely had to come from my mom.

  22. 1.28.17 | Reply

    I am truly saddened to hear of Mary’s passing. All that has been said here embodies my sentiments exactly . I am so grateful had an opportunity to know her and her brilliance . She will be missed .

  23. 2.1.17 | Reply
    Cherie wrote:

    I’m so pleased to see a lovely tribute from Hallmark, for a special artist. Hallmark does have a heart. I wished to be just like Mary, but never attempted to do what she did. I’m glad her memory is with many customers and staff.

  24. 2.3.17 | Reply
    Donna Ohman wrote:

    Such a beautiful tribute, Darren. Mary will always wear the crown.

  25. 2.4.17 | Reply
    Karen wrote:

    Such an amazing artist. She has blessed us with her talent.

  26. 2.8.17 | Reply
    Diane Noll wrote:

    She will be missed. Praying where she’s at is as beautiful as her artwork.

  27. 5.31.17 | Reply
    Gloria Farrell wrote:

    I had the pleasure in meeting Mary at an Area Manager meeting in Kansas City. Was able to talk to her in her work area and she showed us what she was working on for Hallmark. Being an avid photographer I was in my glory taking photos of her and her work. She will always be my favorite artist and forever will live in our hearts❤️

  28. 7.6.17 | Reply
    Janet Buffalo wrote:

    My 7 year old granddaughter, Francis, loved the card I sent her and asked if I could get her a painting of the front of the card. Francis loves to paint and draw. She has loved art all her life. So when she asked I knew she really appreciated the artwork on the card. The reason I picked Mary’s card was because Francis had described a picture she wanted painted very similar to it. She wanted a red panda holding on to one bamboo plant. I am so sorry about Mary’s passing. Francis is a very compassionate person and will be sad to know about Mary. I know she will want to keep the card always. I am sorry for your loss.
    Sincerely, Janet