Marilyn Jeanne Holubowicz (nee Bull) April 6, 1927 - November 1, 2013
British-American artist Marilyn Jeanne Holubowicz (nee Bull) died peacefully in Zebulon, NC, on the 1st of November 2013. She was 86. Known simply as "M," "Marilyn," or "Mrs H," because her Polish married name was difficult to pronounce, she was born in Detroit, MI in the throes of the Great Depression, of a British Merchant Navy father and an American mother (St Louis, MO). Young Marilyn excelled at art at trade schools, and by the age of 19 was making a living drawing fashion sketches for The New York Times, the money from which funded frequent travel to war-torn Europe, starting in 1946. For 20 years M lived in New York City, first in Greenwich Village, then in Brooklyn Heights; marrying in 1955.
For 35 years Mrs H's home was with her husband in England, in Caversham along the River Thames west of London. From there she travelled throughout the Balkans, Greece, and Arab and Muslim world, as far east as Delhi, on a mission to capture for posterity impressions of traditional women's costume in these regions from the first half of the 20th century. For decades museum curators welcomed Marilyn in Athens, Tirana, Baghdad, Beirut, Amman, Belgrade, Istanbul, Damascus, Cairo, Islamabad, and Delhi, hauling out from dusty closets neglected deteriorating garments of old M was to bring to life in vivid colored ink drawings.
M's travels were always alone, and had their terrifying moments. Arriving in Baghdad once, M was treated to the sight of a multiple hanging of four men right outside her hotel room window in the main square. She would sometimes travel to places where Americans were forbidden to go, like Albania; just using her British passport instead of her US passport. Her travels came to an end in 2005 when she fell seriously ill on the Indonesian island of Bali, and had to be air-ambulanced to a hospital in Singapore, and then on to London.
Mrs H never quite recovered. Soon thereafter at the age of 79 she travelled on her first-ever one way ticket, to North Carolina, to be looked after in her final years by her first-born child Paul, a Duke graduate ('78) who had returned to live in North Carolina in 2003. M continued her artwork in North Carolina, until her eyes and hands gave out.
Marilyn leaves behind sons Devon and Paul, daughter Diana, three grandchildren Teresa, Alexander, and Daisy; and her younger sister Diana, niece Carla, and nephew Michael. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Romuald Paul Holubowicz, who 1st of January 2013 succumbed to Alzheimer's after a 15-year struggle in England. Her husband's unstinting love and support made possible her life's work.
Final arrangements by Massey Funeral Home, Zebulon.