Irene Betty Rand Zurier [1920-2013]; Talented sculptor put motherhood before art


Irene Betty Rand Zurier, an amateur Toledo sculptor, died of cardiac arrest Sunday at the Country Villa nursing home in Los Angeles. She was 93.

Ms. Zurier sculpted on and off from the mid 1940s through 1960s out of a studio at the Toledo Museum of Art, where she had taken classes.

Ms. Zurier did not sell her art, which were mostly busts and figures of people, said Nancy Rand Wise, her daughter.

Known in Toledo as IBS — the initials from her maiden name, Irene Betty Smith — she was a lifelong friend of the late Edith Franklin, an acclaimed Toledo ceramist.

“As a sculptor, she was very accomplished,” Ms. Rand Wise said of her mother. “She had a great attention to detail, and her sculptures were very real-life. But her main thing was being a mother. She was a fantastic mother ... loving and caring.”

Ms. Zurier was born March 20, 1920, in Toledo, to Maye Smith and Oscar Smith. The latter was a Toledo attorney and a former owner of the Toledo Mud Hens.

She was raised in Toledo, graduating from Scott High School in 1938. She later studied sculpture at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., and then in New York City, under Max Kalish, a prominent American sculptor. She also attended the New School in New York City.

In 1941, she married Robert Rand in Toledo. The couple divorced 30 years later, having raised two children.

In the 1970s, she married Sydney Zurier and moved New London, Conn., where Mr. Zurier had a women’s clothing shop. He died in 1998.

Ms. Zurier enjoyed swimming, skiing, horseback riding, painting, yoga, and golfing through various stages of her life.

She also enjoyed spending time time with her children and grandchildren, and reading newspapers, magazines, novels, and biographies.

“She was a voracious reader,” her daughter said. “She loved being with people and she loved a good party.”

Ms. Zurier was a member of the former Collingwood Avenue Temple.

Surviving are her daughter, Nancy Rand Wise; son, Bob Rand; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Wisniewski Funeral Home, 
2426 N. Reynolds Rd.

The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Contact Mike Sigov at:, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.