Susan LeRoy Merrill

Photo of Susan LeRoy Merrill. Courtesy: Daisy Rockwell.

Susan LeRoy Merrill
June 4, 1942 – October 24, 2017

I share with you the passing of Susan LeRoy Merrill, artist, author, vibrant spirit, and mother of trustee Daisy Rockwell. Susan is also survived and cherished by beloved husband Carl Sprague, son Ruslan and daughter Elena, son-in-law, Aaron, granddaughter Serafina, and Rockwell family members. Susan taught us so very much about living, with joy and panache, about dying with dignity and gratitude for a life fully lived, and about letting go with grace. She created her last days this summer as she wished to live, painting, surrounded by friends, family and her beloved Corgis. Her art brought much joy and taught us to look at the natural world around us, the world of animals, and even bugs! Her children’s book, I Live in Stockbridge, still available through the Museum, is a personal walk through a town she loved and where she raised her family. There are many chapters to share about Susan’s life, but none is more beautiful than the eulogy her daughter Daisy wrote below. Our hearts go out to Daisy, Carl, all of Susan’s family and many friends.

~ Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director/CEO, Norman Rockwell Museum


Susan Merrill,

Susan Merrill, “The Swing.” 38.5″ x 27.5″. Acrylic on canvas. ©Susan Merrill.

“When my mother called me in early June and told me she’d been diagnosed with a glioblastoma and only had three months to live, she immediately launched into a description of her plans for her remaining days: most notably, she must complete a series of 12 small paintings of bugs beneficial to gardeners before she died. The tumor had started in the communication section of her brain, but did not affect her ability to paint until the end, and she was able to complete her paintings in record time. As her usual exceptional communication abilities began to deteriorate over the summer, she taught us many precious lessons about embracing life and accepting death. It was a summer of charades, drawings, diagrams and laughter over the amazing-sounding unrecognizable words and sounds that came out of her mouth. Only at the end, when she could no longer write or draw, and nearly all her words were unrecognizable, did she show signs of frustration and sadness. The end came mercifully swiftly, and she died last night in her favorite room of her favorite house, surrounded by beloved humans and corgis in a shower of Bach by a roaring fire. We will all carry with us her color, her humor, her word play and her way of re-inventing the world through the power of creative imagination.

Some of her paintings and prints of her bug series are available at her Etsy shop: Funds raised will help defray medical and other costs accumulated by her household during this difficult period.” ~ Daisy Rockwell

Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning

By |April 1st, 2017|Categories: Past Exhibition, Past Exhibitions|Tags: , , , , |

Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning is the first museum exhibition on the world’s most successful animation partnership.

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Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt, and the Four Freedoms

By |February 1st, 2017|Categories: Blog, Current Exhibitions, Exhibition, Press Release - Current, Rockwell on Museum Tour|

Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms is the first comprehensive traveling exhibition devoted to Norman Rockwell’s iconic depictions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

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Hanna-Barbera: Toon-ament of Champions!

By |November 7th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

A Champion has been crowned!
Congratulations to Scooby-Doo! After a 31-day competition, Scooby was the clear winner against 31 of his peers! Make sure to visit our exhibition HANNA-BARBERA: The Architects of Saturday Morning to see Scooby and the entire cast of characters!

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Forbes Recognizes Norman Rockwell Museum’s Education Program

By |September 20th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Latest Press|Tags: , , , , |

Forbes Magazine has recently highlighted the work that Norman Rockwell Museum is doing to promote neurodiversity. Often defined as the idea that neurological differences such as autism and ADHD are to be recognized and respected as normal human variation, the article looks at the Museum's partnership with the College Internship Program.

USA Today Names “Keepers of the Flame” to List of Best Fall Exhibitions

By |September 12th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Latest Press|Tags: , , , |

Our current exhibition Keepers of the Flame: Parrish, Wyeth, Rockwell and the Narrative Tradition continues to attract praise from both visitors and the media. This week USA Today included the show in their list of "the best American museum exhibits this fall."

Norman Rockwell Museum To Present Lecture on the Tradition of Narrative Arts

By |August 19th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Press Release - Current|Tags: , , , |

Norman Rockwell Museum will present "Narrative Arts Matters," an art talk with the Museum’s President, illustrator Alice A. Carter on Saturday, September 22, starting at 1:30 p.m. The talk will elaborate on the centuries-old tradition of visual storytelling, the primary focus in the Museum’s current exhibition Keepers of the Flame: Parrish, Wyeth, Rockwell and the Narrative Tradition

Museum Welcomes New U.S. Citizens

By |August 15th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Latest Press|Tags: , , , |

Norman Rockwell Museum was proud to once again partner with the Berkshire Immigrant Center and host our seventh annual United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony at the Museum on August 10, 2018. 23 men and women, originally from 16 countries, took the oath and were sworn in against the welcoming backdrop of Norman Rockwell's artwork.

Norman Rockwell Museum Presents Moving Pictures: A History of Hand-Drawn Animation

By |August 12th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Press Release - Current|Tags: , , , |

Norman Rockwell Museum will present Moving Pictures, a lecture looking at the history of hand-drawn animation from 1912 to 1990, on Saturday, August 18, starting at 1:30 p.m. Norman Rockwell Museum Curator of Exhibitions Jesse Kowalski will discuss how animated film has evolved from its earliest stages—from experimental films to cartoon shorts from the 1930s through 1950s.

Norman Rockwell Museum’s The Narrative Tradition Series Continues with Art Talks and Musical Performance

By |August 12th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Press Release - Current|

On Thursday, August 23, the Museum will welcome back local a cappella group Quintessential for an evening of art music. The group, which includes tenors Al Thorp, Jay Wise and Jim McMenamy, and bass/baritone David Anderegg, will perform songs that tell stories and complement the themes of the Keepers of the Flame exhibition.