Sarah Marjorie Miley Bassett


Sarah Marjorie Miley Bassett, professional artist, 17-year resident of Pagosa Springs, formerly of Rockville, Md.; Lakeville, Minn.; and Sheboygan Falls, Wis., passed away Sept. 3 of natural causes at the age of 83.

Sarah Bassett was born April 4, 1934, in Milwaukee, Wis., daughter to parents Alfred William Miley and Marjorie Sarah Van Ouwerkerk Miley of Sheboygan Falls. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 38 years, Francis (James) Bassett Sr., of Rockville, Md.; her sister, Rosemary Miley, of Sheboygan Falls; and brother David Miley, of Plymouth, Wis.

Sarah enjoyed a rich life of art and friends. Up until the day she passed, her love for art, nature, a good meal and creating lasting friendships filled her life. She was a woman of accomplishment. She was a graduate of Central High School in Sheboygan, and received a BA in fine art, studied with Dean Meaker, from University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1956. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma fraternity, and while attending the University, she won University Galleries top award. In 1956, after graduation she competed and won the Mademoiselle National Art Contest and received a scholarship to continue her education to attend the Pius XII Institute, Florence, Italy, where she received her M.A. of fine art in 1957. During 1956, she was featured in “LOOK” magazine.

Sarah met Jim (Francis James) Bassett Sr., a U.S. Air Force test pilot stationed at Truax Field Madison, Wis., while attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and they were married in 1958, with a reception at her family home, “Apple Tree Farm,” Sheboygan Falls.

In 1963, she founded the “Fine Arts Studio” Minneapolis, Minn. She was a member of the Artist Equity and the Wisconsin Printmakers. While living in Lakeville, Minn., she established her own art studio, painted, taught lessons and was part of the Minnetonka Center of Arts and Education in Minnetonka, Minn.

Throughout her life, she exhibited in many art shows, including her individual shows in Italy, Chicago, Minneapolis, Winona, New York City and Palm Beach. She exhibited in various shows in the Midwest, displayed art at the Walker Art Center and at the 1963 Minnesota State Fair.

Sarah was an art consultant/instructor for many art institutions in the Minneapolis area: for Hennepin County, children’s instructor at the Minnetonka Center of Art and Education, adult instructor, Armitage School, and participated in the Minneapolis Art Institute, 1961 and 1963 Biennial.

In 1968, the family moved from Lakeville to Rockville, Md., where she was a resident for over 33 years. She raised a family, volunteered with county art programs, continued to paint and for several years, she was a volunteer for Rockville district voting where she eventually held the position of election judge. She joined the Inner Peace Movement, became an instructor and leader within the organization. In wanting to teach and reach more people, she became an ordained minister and formed the Universal Peace Church.

Her infatuation and admiration of the San Juan Valley spoke to her pioneering spirit and brought her to this region on multiple trips and she chose to move here for the remainder of her life. She continued to paint and was a “featured” artist at the Georgia O’Keeffe Ghost Ranch, exhibited at the Pagosa Springs hospital and opened her studio for a gallery tour. She so loved looking out at the mountains, which was a creative inspiration to her. She enjoyed a good laugh, meal and friendship.

Sarah is survived by her four children: daughter Rosemary Bassett Stull and husband Larry, of Stafford, Va.; son Frank Bassett, of Chambersburg, Pa.; son Alfred Bassett, of Frederick, Md.; and son Charles Bassett and wife Janel, of West River, Md. She has six grandchildren: Jillian Bassett Shepard, Ryan Bassett, Christopher Stull, Sarah Stull and Daniel Bassett. She has three great-grandchildren: Judge Shepard, Teagan Shepard and Grayson Shepard. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Thank you to the Mercy Hospital Hospice care that was provided to Sarah and her family over the past several days and to friends who stopped in to spend time with her. A celebration of life for Sarah Miley Basset will be held at her art studio in Pagosa Springs on Meadows Drive starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 9. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her name to the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. She will be buried at St. Rose of Lima cemetery, town of Lima, near Sheboygan Falls. Hood Funeral home of Pagosa Springs is serving the family.