Juliet Rago-McNamara

Birth Date: 
Wednesday, March 21, 1928
Date of Death: 
Monday, June 17, 2024

American artist, Juliet Rago-McNamara passed away peacefully on June 17, 2024 at the age of 97 at Bridges Memory Care Assisted Living in Westford MA, of natural causes.

Juliet Rago-McNamara was born on March 21, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois and is survived by her four children, and six grandchildren.

Ms. Juliet Rago McNamara was pre-deceased by her first husband, poet, Editor of Poetry Magazine, and University of Chicago Professor, (School, of Theology and Literature), Henry Rago (who passed away in 1969), and by her second husband Robert J. McNamara, former Dean of Loyola University, and subsequently Sociology Chair and Professor, Loyola University Chicago, who passed away in 1985.

Beloved within her community, by family, friends, colleagues and students, Juliet was known for her even temper, kindness, and grace, she was a full professor of painting (Loyola University, Department of Fine Arts) prior to her retirement, and a prolific and respected artist, a calling to which she devoted her life.

Rago-McNamara earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), in 1950 and her Masters of Fine Arts at SAIC in 1973. Her career in higher education began in 1969, when Juliet became a Professor of Fine Arts at Loyola University Chicago. Prior to this, she was an art instructor at Barat College of Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois, from 1970-1971. Juliet taught painting at Loyola until her retirement in 2002. She spent many summers working independently at Arts Colonies throughout the country, notably, Yado, Ragdale, Oxbow Summer School of Art, Vermont Studio Center and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

A member of the College Art Association (member Women’s Caucus for Art), Juliet Rago McNamara had a long career as an educator, lecturer and artist. She is the recipient of awards, fellowships, and grants and is listed as a notable artist by Marquis Who's Who. Rago-McNamara prolifically explored abstractions, landscapes, sky, sea and figurative subjects in her work as an artist. She often depicted elements of nature, sky and sea, and the ever-changing cloud formations over Lake Michigan and wherever she traveled. She was captivated by the human figure moving through water or space, especially in the form of angels which graced most of the holiday cards she sent out yearly.

In addition to her continued work as an artist, Juliet Rago-McNamara loved music, played guitar, dulcimer and piano, and, a gifted singer, sang in local choirs wherever she lived. Her interest in art, music and the humanities enabled her to create rich and varied friendships which mirrored what she cared most about.

Juliet continued through her over 70 years as an artist, to create art works and exhibits in galleries and museums (in both solo and group shows) and leaves a rich and complex legacy as an artist and friend to many.

A celebration of life and memorial service will be announced at a later date at First Parish Church, Lincoln, Massachusetts, and at Rago Brothers’ Funeral Home, Chicago, IL.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, or feel free to contribute to a charity or scholarship of your choice in Juliet’s name.