Obituary— Sara Lucile Wheat
Sara Lucile (Sally) Niblack Wheat, age 95, died September 22, 2021, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, following a brief illness. She was surrounded and cared for by family members and care-givers at Good Samaritan Assisted Living, her home for many years.
She was born July 18, 1926, in Lindale, Texas, to John Gahlen Niblack and Thelma Hollis Cooper Niblack. She was raised in Tyler, Texas, and expected to remain an East Texas girl until the Fall of 1941 when on a visit to her sister, a student at Texas Western School of Mines in El Paso, she met William George (Bill) Wheat, a West Texas boy, on a blind date. They were in love when WWII intervened and it was September 26, 1944, after Bill returned from service in Europe, when they married in Tyler, Texas. They spent the remainder of the War in Biloxi, Mississippi where Bill was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base.
In October of 1945, Sally and Bill returned to his home in Van Horn, Texas. He assumed the management of the family business, The Van Horn Hardware and Lumber Company, and she began to expand and develop her skills in drawing and painting as she came to love the landscapes of the trans-Pecos, Big Bend and greater Southwest. They had two daughters, Catherine in January of 1947 and Jean in July of 1951. Although busy raising children and involved in her church and community, she continued to study art with well-known teachers. She drew and painted prolifically creating still lifes, portraits, and landscapes in pencil and pen, watercolors, oils, pastels and acrylics.
In 1991, Bill and Sally moved to Las Cruces, NM, to be near family and she felt her interests in painting “were intensified and inspired by constantly changing colors and moods of the Organ Mountains and the Mesilla Valley and its history and traditions”. She blossomed in Las Cruces, had many artist friends and was a member of like-minded groups such as The Border Artists and Friday Painters. She participated in many juried shows and was featured in galleries in New Mexico and Arizona. She received many honors and much recognition for her works and many of them are displayed in public places and in private collections in the Southwest, the US and around the world.
In later years health concerns made painting difficult and painful but she continued her interest in art and inspired her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to develop their artistic interests.
She was preceded in death by her husband William George (Bill) Wheat, father John Gahlen Niblack, mother Thelma Hollis Cooper Niblack Miller, step-father Stephen Miller, and her sister Jean Niblack Samford.
Sally is survived by her daughters, Sara Catherine Wheat Kamat (Satish) and Jean Elizabeth Wheat Gregory (Don); grandchildren Sharad Kamat Stump (Tod), Anil Kamat (Lilly Mason), Eric Gregory (Jamie) and Lauren Gregory; great-grandchildren Seth, Kiran and Leah Stump, Ari and Flora Kamat, Lily and Will Gregory, and step-great-grandchildren Arlo and Oscar Paden; nieces Sunday Hooper and Sara Dean.
At her request, her body has been cremated and there will be a private family memorial. Anyone wishing to remember her should make a donation to a charity of choice in her name.