Evelyn E. Riesett, a former Baltimore Sun commercial illustrator who was an accomplished watercolorist, died Oct. 30 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at Gilchrist Center Towson. The Lutherville resident was 91.
The former Evelyn Edna Raum, the daughter of John G. Raum, a bank security guard and woodworker, and his wife, Lucy Smith Raum, a bank custodian, was born and raised in Southwest Baltimore.
Due to a case of polio during her childhood, Ms. Riesett’s early education was at the William S. Baer School, which provided schooling for children with disabilities. She graduated in 1946 from Western High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She also studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts.
She then began a career as a commercial illustrator for such venerable Baltimore department stores as the Hecht Co. and Stewart’s, hand-drawing illustrations of women’s fashions for newspaper advertisements before the days of photographed products and digital graphic design.
She spent the last six years of her career until retiring in the late 1970s in the commercial art department at The Baltimore Sun.
Ms. Riesett continued to work in watercolors, favoring still lifes, Victorian homes, watermen and Eastern Shore scenes, where she enjoyed her plein air painting sessions. She was a member of the Maryland Watercolor Society and was a longtime exhibitor at the Watermark Gallery in Baltimore.
A former longtime Hamilton resident who later moved to her daughter’s home in Lutherville, she enjoyed working in her perennial garden and spending time with neighbors.
A lover of animals, Ms. Riesett over the years adopted many stray cats and dogs, family members said, and cared for the flocks of songbirds in her yard, preparing evening meals of birdseed and torn pieces of peanut butter sandwiches. She was also a fan of musicals, singing, British television programs, the Orioles and the Ravens..
She had been a Girl Scout leader and volunteered in the admission department at Union Memorial Hospital.
Ms. Riesett had been an active communicant of the old Episcopal Church of St. Paul the Apostle, where she had been a member of the vestry and taught Sunday school.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday in the chapel of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, 130 W. Seminary Ave., Lutherville.