Kentucky naturalist and wildlife artist Ray Harm died April 9 at his home in Sonoita, Ariz. He was 88.
Harm, who had been described as Kentucky's "most noted bird artist since John James Audubon," was known for his intricately observed and detailed paintings of wildlife, in which he conveyed both personality and poetry of animals.
He had been suffering from prostate cancer and was under Hospice care at the time of his death, said his daughter Linda Stampf of Richmond.
Cathy Harm, his wife of 36 years and a millefiori clay artist herself, was with Harm when he died.
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"We were glad he was able to go that way," Stampf said. "His mind was still good."
A 1977 Associated Press profile of Harm said that he was a truck driver in Cleveland when his sketches caught the attention of Louisville auto dealer Wood Hannah who commissioned Harm to do a series of paintings and urged him to settle in Kentucky. The two men formed a company to market Harm's prints.
Harm never used photos or mechanical devices to create his artwork. He relied on field sketches and knowledge of his subject matter to produce his work.
Harm had lived in Arizona for about 40 years, but leaves behind family in Kentucky.
Besides his widow, daughter Linda Stampf and her husband, Richard, survivors include another daughter, Barbara Jo Harm; and a son, Ray "Hap" Harm Jr. of Georgetown and his wife Brandy Harm; and a sister, Elsie Cole, of Geneva, Ohio. Ray Harm also had four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Stampf praised her father's ability "to capture ... life in its natural setting." She would sometimes ask her father what he was thinking about, and he would reply: "I was thinking about my pictures and hoping that everything was technically correct, as it should have been," Stampf said.
Her favorite picture — a goldfinch on thistle painting — was given to her by her father and hangs in her Madison County home.
Stampf said her father will be cremated. Donations are requested to a good cause close to the heart of those mourning. No memorial service is immediately planned.
"He had raised so much money for a variety of organizations," Stampf said.