Lora Rock  

 


Those who own a painting by Lora Rock actually own a piece of Morning Sun History. Although Lora was well known locally, her pictures have found their way into homes in all parts of the United States with some in Canada. A missionary took her work to India and one painting went as a gift to a home in Egypt. She had exhibits in Cedar Falls, Mason City, Waterloo, and Wisconsin. Sketches were completed in Cedar Falls, in Arizona and she also had done paintings while visiting in California.

Lora Rock was born in Fairhaven, Ohio, on December 7, 1867, the oldest child of Andrew and Martha Rock. Lora was one of five children who moved with her parents to Morning Sun in 1881. Four more children were born here, making a total of 9 children-3 boys and 6 girls. Lora was 23 years older than the youngest child. Lora's parental home was down the road past the cemetery. Her father operated a brick factory and farmed. This was at the turn of the century when an 8th grade education was not uncommon. All six girls were educated to be teachers while the boys acquired occupational skills. Two of the sisters settled in Arizona and California. Her sister Carrie, in Arizona, was the first woman to pass the bar exam even before Arizona became a state.

After her graduation from high school, Lora taught in the several rural schools in the Morning Sun community for 15 years. Former students remember her as a good teacher, a kindly person and well liked. She walked to school, four miles round trip and on payday Lora walked an extra 2 miles to pick up her check.

Lora painted in both oil and water colors, but, mostly oil. She painted on whatever she could get-not always canvas. She did many paintings on cut wood. She even painted on heavy cardboard that fabric had been rolled on. The Pierce Family has a large collection of painted mirrors as well as paintings on canvas. Mr. L.R. Piece enjoyed the pictures, but, he was also helping Lora financially. Lora chose landscapes and beautiful scenes with autumn and winter scenes predominating. Two large murals were painted for the high school at the time of its completion in 1921. A large painting of Melrose Abbey hung in the high school study hall.

Lora lived in a house where the Marian Minnis home now stands. She was pleased by the many visits paid by children who stopped to see her paintings. The praise of both children and adults who viewed her paintings was, she said, her greatest compensation. People watching her were amazed at how quickly she painted. This artist whose work has pleased so many never had a single hour in instruction.

Lora was a deeply religious woman, a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Her last years were lived in the Ross Nursing home, still surrounded by some of her beloved paintings. She died on June 18, 1956, leaving a rich heritage of beauty, held in honor by many who value her art. At a different time and place in history, Lora could have been an extremely famous artist. BUT fame was not what she sought.

(Complied by Beverly Karagin using information taken from acticles written by Wayne D. Allen in 1948, Eleanor Cummings in 1981, Charles Beck in 1992 and in his book "Beckonings" and Beverly Karagin's Sorosis Program in 1997.)