1900 - 1994
Marie Kirkpatrick was an outstanding furniture designer who mastered all aspects of her profession. She was recognized by her peers not only for her ability to produce conceptual designs, but for her work in providing the accompanying detail drawings and construction specifications as well. She learned her profession from her father, Arthur Kirkpatrick, who was a well-known Grand Rapids furniture designer and teacher.
After graduating from South High School in Grand Rapids, Kirkpatrick studied at Grand Rapids Junior (now Community) College and then trained as a designer in her father's studio. In 1929, she married her distant cousin, Russell Kirkpatrick, a furniture designer who had studied at the Chicago Art Institute and then became a partner in Arthur Kirkpatrick's studio. The couple worked together in her father's studio and took over its operation when he died in 1941. Marie was in charge of the sketching and designing department and designed case goods--dining and bedroom suites-- while Russell designed upholstered furniture and chairs and prepared construction details for the studio's designs. Sought out by many manufacturers, Marie opened an office in High Point, North Carolina, and also spent part of each year working in Toronto, Canada.
Marie Kirkpatrick's place in the world of furniture design was acknowledged in 1946 when she was named a fellow of the Industrial Designers Institute, one of only four women to be so honored. Locally, she was named Woman of the Year by the Grand Rapids Business Women's Coordinating Committee in 1951, and she served for more than 20 years on the Kendall College of Design board of directors.