Heidi Howe

Heidi Howe Heidi Howe, age 82, wife of the noted Native American artist and South Dakota's Artist Laureate, Oscar Howe, died Aug. 12, 2009 in Lafayette, IN. Funeral services were 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls followed by burial at 1 p.m. in BluffView Cemetery in Vermillion. Visitation with the family present was from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sunday at Miller Funeral Home in Sioux Falls. Heidi was born April 7, 1927 to Karl and Annemarie Hampel in Biedenkopf, Germany where she grew up in an area noted for its beautiful mountains and healthy environment. Heidi was related to famous German landscape artist Hermann Schuetz, preceding the interest in art that she would develop over the years. Heidi was known for her beautiful soprano voice, having studied under renowned German opera singer Elsa Treut in Marburg, Germany for several years. Oscar Howe and Heidi met in 1945 while Oscar was stationed in Biedenkopf and visited her father's clothing store – thus beginning a two year courtship.The Howes were married in Chicago on July 29, 1947 and settled in Mitchell, where Oscar attended Dakota Wesleyan University, graduating in 1952. During this time, Howe began a 26 year career as artist for the Corn Palace murals, a task that also actively involved Heidi. In 1948, the Howe's only child, Inge Dawn, was born in Talihina, OK while Oscar worked on illustrations for North American Indian Costumes. This experience led the Howe's to move to Norman, OK where he earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree in 1954. Returning to South Dakota, the Howe family moved to Pierre where Oscar taught high school art before moving to Vermillion to join the University of South Dakota faculty where he served until 1980. Throughout this time, Heidi was highly active in the community, university and art world, serving specifically as Girl Scout troop leader, frequent polling volunteer, and contributing her musical talents to the university faculty women's choir. As her husband gained increasing fame as an artist, Heidi was the spark plug that ignited his career. She not only managed family matters providing him time to make art, she was his business manager and studio assistant. Her organizational skills and her industry were impressive to all who knew the couple. Heidi managed her husband's publicity, organized exhibits, stretched watercolor paper, cleaned the studio, and even built crates to ship art work. This teamwork has been widely acknowledged and many credit Heidi with sustaining the family through both trying times and times of great success. Following Oscar's death, Heidi continued to be a patron of the arts, particularly focusing on fostering the talent of young Native American artists. Those who knew Heidi consistently characterize her as a gracious, engaging, and strong woman. While demure, she invariably impressed others with her faith in her husband's genius, her commitment to promoting his career, and devotion to family. In most recent years, Heidi's greatest joy was found in spending time with her family, living with her daughter Inge Dawn and being a constant loving presence in the lives of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Heidi is survived by her daughter Inge Dawn Howe Maresh and husband, Dr. James Maresh of Lafayette, IN; grandchildren, Kimberley Maresh Baerns and her husband Chris Baerns of Denver, CO, Jeffery Maresh and his wife Emily of Rochester, MN, Trenton Maresh and his wife Stephanie of Chicago, IL; great-grandchildren, Lauren and Ella Maresh and Blake and Declan Baerns; sisters, Ingeborg Bayer and Anneliese Hampel of Germany and Waltraut Kondert of Sioux Falls. Heidi was preceded in death by her husband Oscar in 1983 and her brothers, Klaus and Heinz Hampel. Memorials may be directed to the Oscar Howe Memorial Association at the University of South Dakota Foundation, 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069.

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