1915 – 2004

SOUTH PARIS – Eleanor Rose Viles, 88, died Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Market Square Health Center, South Paris, after a brief illness.

She was born July 10, 1915, in Waterville to Edna Fotter Rose and Fred Howard Rose. She graduated from Waterville High School, attended Colby College in Waterville and also attended art schools in Boston and New York. After receiving her education she moved to Schenectady, New York and worked for a photographer as a touch up artist.

In 1937, she married Wilbur S.Viles and they moved to South Paris, moving to Paris Hill in 1952. She was a homemaker, community supporter, and artist. While her painting was a key focus in her life, she also met her own priorities in caring for her family and serving in community organizations. Her activities ranged from 4H Leader to being a member of the South Paris PTA, Stephens Memorial Hospital Auxiliary (chairwoman), Women’s Auxiliary of the South Paris Fire Department, and the Paris Hill Community Club.

A member of the First Congregational Church of South Paris, she was active in the Couples Club, the Thailian Club and as a Sunday school teacher. Throughout her life, she was an avidly biased spectator of her children’s, grandchildren’s, and great-grandchildren’s roles in sports and other activities.

Her artistic efforts had an initial focus on watercolors, shifting gradually to oil painting and moving from landscapes to an enduring interest in portraits. A series of murals completed in the early 1950s can be seen at the Market Square Restaurant. When the Hungarian artist Lajos Matolcsy moved to Paris, Maine in the early 1960s, she started taking group lessons at his home on Ryerson Hill. In 1962, Lajos and this original group formed the Western Maine Art Group with Ellie as one of the charter members. In 1967, the WMAG bought the Art Center on lower Main Street in Norway. She was a longtime organizer and participant in the Norway Sidewalk Art Show. She also taught for two years in the late ’60s at the Job Center that was located at Poland Spring; and for a short time she taught art at Paris High School.

Her landscapes, house paintings, and portraits hang throughout Western Maine and beyond. She had regular requests for commissioned work, more than 250 paintings, until her energy and eyesight began to fail her during the past three years. Her family shared in her art as critics and supporters, and in their regular pleas for just one little watercolor for their next birthday. Her commissioned work clearly involved a fundamental commitment to finding out and satisfying what the customer wanted. Each project seemed to result in new or deeper friendships that lasted throughout the years.

Ellie, along with her husband Bill, felt integrally connected and obligated to her Oxford Hills community and friends, celebrating joys and soothing sadness in her small ways. Her smile acknowledged and warmed everyone. She was very grateful for the warmth and support of her community and friends.

She is survived by her daughter, Alice Decato and her husband Lloyd of South Paris, a son, George Viles and his wife Nancy Ross of Sidney; grandchildren, Joni Decato and her partner Andy Wood of Bangor, Richard Decato and his wife Debra of Paris Hill, Sarah Ross-Viles of Seattle, Wash., and Abraham Viles of Old Town; great-grandchildren, Kyla and Kelvin of Paris; her older brother, the Rev. Cecil Rose of Gloucester, Mass.; and her many treasured nieces and nephews and their families.

She was predeceased by her husband, Bill, in 2002; and by two sisters, Alice Berdeen and Ethel Lieberman.

Guest Book