Honoring the Women in Jerome AZ: International Women’s Day

Anyone who has lived in Jerome for any period of time knows this to be true:  the women are strong, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, accomplished at what they set out to do and passionately engaged. Many are artists that have served the town politically and are business people. A triple header combo that is hard to beat. And they’re smart. Very very smart.

Here’s an honor role of a dozen, in alphabetical order, who live or have lived in Jerome and some of their contributions.  Most moved to Jerome in the seventies and early eighties and many were, and still are, irreverent hippies!

Anne Bassett, for documenting the town through her intricately detailed illustrations and her service on the Jerome Town Council.  http://jeromeartists-bassett.blogspot.com/ 

Patty Bell, for singing Joni Mitchell’s song, “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot,’ in a particularly rancorous Jerome Town Council meeting

Barbara Blackburn, the wild woman who became CEO of Jerome Instrument Corporation and served on many of the town boards. She helped put together the Jerome Defense Fund to help members of our community that were arrested in 1985.

Mimi Currier, for running for US Senate in the eighties as a liberal Democrat with special interests in the arts, for her long-time service on many boards in Jerome, and for her incredible Netsuke carvings.

Nancy Driver, a wonderful fiber and leather artist, who served on many boards, and helped start the first artists’ cooperative store in Jerome.

Katie Lee, who wears her advocacy for freeing the Colorado River on her license plate (Dam Dam), and speaks eloquently and emotionally about them in her books and in her music. And for bringing a smile to everyone’s face when she streaked Jerome on her bike when she was in her eighties. www.katydoodit.com

ML Lincoln, photographer and producer of the film, Wrenched, honoring the legacy of Edward Abbey and the decades of wilderness activists he helped inspire. www.wrenched-themovie.com/‎

Jane Moore, for her long-time service on the town council (12 years, not all consecutively) and on many boards, with special advocacy for water rights, and her incredibly lovely ceramics and paintings. www.madeinjerome.com

My cousin Deni Rapp, the woodworker, for her lovely cribbage boards and wooden furniture, her courage in dealing with many physical ailments so graciously and positively, and for her service on many boards.

Ivy Stearman, one of the first women midwives in the Verde Valley (against the ire of many doctors) and founder of Nurses Network. nursesnetwork.net/

Sue Tillman for having the gut to start the first AIDs organization in the Verde Valley at a time when even the funeral homes wouldn’t dress someone who died of AIDS.

Sharon Watson, cofounder of Aurum Jewelry, a wonderful designer and jeweler, and long time member of the Fireman’s Auxiliary and board member of the Jerome Historical Society. www.aurumjewelry.com

Kathleen Williamson  for her lifetime advocacy of human rights, including LGBT people, her astute legal head and her musicianship. www.kathleenwilliamson.com

Okay, there are a lot more women, who have started their own business and shops, but I have to go teach tai chi right now. Post your favorites.  Make a list for your hometown. Today’s the day.


9 thoughts on “Honoring the Women in Jerome AZ: International Women’s Day

  1. Well said & written, Diane, but let us not forget about your contributions. Both to our lovely Town of Jerome as well your informative books that have helped many in the music business.


  2. I wish I knew some of them and I wish I knew Jerome better but I only know it as a tourist from the big city. I did know a Jerome native but I think she had probably left before you got there. Her father was a dentist there, probably in the 40s-50s-60s and his last name was Dixon. Her name was Marjorie and she was a pharmacist. I lost touch with her and I think she may not be living anymore.


    • I did not know here either. But I bet you could think of a list of women you know from Phoenix that should be honored.


  3. Where’s Jerome’s businesswoman Leigh Hay-Martin? She’s a fine quilt artist as well. I’d consider her for your list of fabulous women.


    • Leigh’s quilt’s are fabulous, meticulous and quite original. Just up the street from Leign’s shop, Designs on You, you can find Peggy Hicks at the Turquoise Spider and her beguiling book, Ghost of the Cuban Queen Bordello. Further up Main is Diane Geoghegan, an award-winning watercolor artist who owns Nellie Bly II. If you went down Main Street from Leigh’s shop, you’ll find Christy Fisher and her amazing jewelry and clothing designs. Jerome is full of these women. Thanks so much for writing!


  4. I had a dream last night about a wonderful artist friend from the ’70’s, Hilde Ripple, who lived in Jerome and died in the late ’90’s. I believe she was living in Jerome when she died.
    I’d love to know about her life and work after we parted ways. I can’t imagine she didn’t have impact on the spiritual and artistic community she lived in.
    If you or any of your readers could share anything of dear Hilde I’d appreciate it.
    Thank you,
    Ken Buxton


    • Dear Ken:
      I did not know Hilde well; but I did ask the Curriers to write you and wonder if the did. Hilde plays a very small bit part in my book Home Sweet Jerome (www.homesweetjerome.net) in a segment called “The Ghost of the Gun.” She was a gentle person.


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