Gifts In Memory of Mary Beth Percival

Mary Beth Percival

Mary Beth "MB" Percival was born on July 27, 1945, in Shelby, Montana, the daughter of Alfred and Winona Graesser. She grew up in the Big Hole and Boulder valleys where her father was a ranger for the U.S. Forest Service. Ranger Al was a 1939 graduate of the UM School of Forestry. Her mother Winona (Gitchell) was a teacher and librarian who grew up on her parents' homestead on Highview Bench near Choteau.

MB started drawing and painting at a very early age and also loved riding horses into the Big Hole Valley with her ranger father. She graduated from the Jefferson County High School, class of 1963. She attended both the University of Montana and San Francisco State College and graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in fine art. She was in San Francisco during the Summer of Love and participated in the vibrant art and music scene of late ‘60s San Francisco.

As a young person MB taught art in various Montana public high schools for several years. Throughout the 1970s and beyond she supported herself as an artist and graphic designer in Missoula’s diverse community. She was married to Steve Percival and they owned a music store called Bitterroot Music at the current location of Bernice’s Bakery.

Lake McDonald in Summer by Mary Beth Percival, 2005

Mary Beth was friends with many people who started the art scene in Missoula; this is where she met her second husband Monte Dolack and they remained married for more than 30 years. They were collaborators in art, business and community service. The Monte Dolack Gallery on Front Street became a landmark and destination for art lovers from near and far. MB also participated in numerous painting workshops and she and Monte traveled to major cities in the United States, Mexico, Japan, Egypt, New Zealand and Europe where she conducted intensive visits to museums and galleries to inform her artwork.

Percival is best known for her watercolor paintings, many of which illustrate her strong bond to the country where she grew up. She has painted personal and intimate views of that Big Sky Country. Mary Beth's work was shown in many juried and invitational shows. In 2009 she and Monte were honored with the University of Montana College of Visual and Performing Arts Odyssey of the Stars distinguished alumni award. She and Monte were also recently honored by the Cinnabar foundation the conservation Roundtable as well as other organizations dedicated to preserving, conserving and protecting important landscapes and watersheds.

Mary Beth retired in 2010 due to dementia, although she continued to paint, draw and love her family and friends for as long as she was able. Mary Beth Percival passed away on December 7th, 2016. See Mary Beth's complete works here.

To make a a gift to the University of Montana School of Art in memory of MB, please use the form below or call the UM Foundation at 406.243.2593.