Elizabeth Bradford

Taos News

Elizabeth Bradford Willard Rusnell

Age 83, passed away on her own terms peacefully at home with family on November 21, 2022. Elizabeth was born on March 1, 1939 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania where she spent her childhood. She attended the Moravian Academy, an all-girls school, and went on to complete her Bachelor’s degree at Bates College. Elizabeth later earned a Master’s degree in education at Columbia University. Elizabeth spent summers in Damariscotta, Maine at her family cabin and found a home at Wavus Camps. She took a teaching job in Fairbanks, Alaska, and later moved to Taos, New Mexico where she was an English teacher at Taos High School. Elizabeth met Wesley Rusnell, an artist in Taos, and they were married on March 10, 1967. Elizabeth and Wesley raised two children, Noel and Ava, and moved to Roswell, New Mexico in 1973. During this time Elizabeth worked as a bookkeeper, preschool teacher, and taught at New Mexico Military Institute for 17 years. After retirement, Elizabeth and Wesley moved back to Taos, where they spent time with new and old friends. Elizabeth made and sold beautiful jewelry fashioned from handmade beads, metal casting, and complex polymer clay designs. Other hobbies included pottery, baking, gardening, geological hikes, and playing games with friends and family. Elizabeth loved adventure. She worked for Ernie Blake at the Taos Ski Valley as a ski instructor in her 20’s. She skied into her 70’s, including an outing with her granddaughters Jenna and Megan. Elizabeth loved to travel as well. She earned four teach abroad grants across Great Britain that were accompanied by family sightseeing trips. Elizabeth spent a month in China and most memorably spent two weeks in Venice with Wesley. Elizabeth was known by all she met to be generous, thoughtful, brave, creative, intelligent, independent, adventurous, giving, and a caregiver to all. Elizabeth impressed all of us with her deep skill and need to serve others. She was selfless and her memory serves as an enduring role model for all of us. Elizabeth is proceeded in death by her parents Elise and Bradford Willard, and her brother Gates Willard. Elizabeth is survived by her husband of 55 years, Wesley Rusnell, her children Noel Rusnell (Sonja), Ava (Dan) Barsness and grandchildren, Hunter and Gavin Rusnell and Jenna and Megan Barsness, as well as many other close friends and family. Many thanks to Mountain Home Hospice and Elizabeth’s many friends in the Taos community. A celebration of life will take place at a later date. Arrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home. To share a memory, please visit our website at
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Super Natural: Painter Elizabeth Bradford

Through brilliant colors and meticulous details, this Davidson native celebrates the beauty, interconnectedness and geometry of the wild. In a former cotton shed in Mecklenburg County, Elizabeth Bradford paints the natural world around her. With extraordinary, saturated colors and meticulous, zoomed-in details, her landscapes can be exotic, surprising, even strange. They are also poetic: meditative celebrations of the beauty, interconnectedness and geometry of the natural world.
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