Stella Warwick, an artist and graphic designer, dies at 89.

Stella Warwick, an artist and graphic designer, dies at 89.

Stella Warwick, a Port Washington-based graphic designer and artist, whose designs appeared in Hallmark’s best-selling greeting cards, died on Sept. 27 from complications with an undiagnosed blood clot. She was 89.

A resident of Port Washington for 52 years, Warwick attended the Jackson Von Ladau School of Fashion in Boston on a full scholarship. 

“She was just very good at everything she did,” James Warwick, her son, said, “especially anything with art or fashion. She was just in a league of her own.”

Working as a window designer creating fashion displays for Filene’s department store in Boston, Warwick began freelancing for Hallmark for extra money.

“She worked on some of the most popular and best-selling Hallmark cards ever,” James Warwick said. “Some of them are still on the shelves at stores.”

In the early 1960s, Warwick freelanced for Seventeen magazine, creating fashion illustrations and compiling different fashion trends for a section of the magazine that advised women on seasonal fashion styles.

Because of her knowledge of fashion, Warwick would create her own clothes out of her designs, James Warwick said.

“One day she was wearing her own clothes and the editor of Seventeen magazine asked her where she got them,” James Warwick said. “ And when she found out, she had my mom’s clothes made up. She would walk down the street wearing her authentic, original clothes and she’d walk by someone wearing a knock-off of it. People were stealing her designs because they were so good.”

She also worked for Herald Cabot, an advertising agency in Boston, where she worked on fashion accounts.

In the 1970s, James Warwick began designing the Happy Box for Burger King, which was a product that combined a hamburger, french fries and a drink. 

When he needed help, he said, he hired Warwick to help with the design.

His boss later replaced him with Warwick, “because he liked her work better than mine,” he said.

“I came up with the idea and she executed it,” James Warwick said. “They loved her stuff and they offered her my job.”

Warwick was born in Schenectady, New York, and married James F. Warwick, who died in 2006.

Warwick worked as the art director at the Manhasset Public Library until she retired at the age of 75.

During her retirement, Warwick attended a Lincoln Center opera at least once a week.

“She loved the opera,” James Warwick said. “She knew all of the singers and all of the areas showing shows. She just loved it. It was one of her passions.’’

Warwick loved the movies, James Warwick said, especially classic films from the French neorealism and British comedies era.

Every Saturday, Warwick would go see a film at an art house movie theater in Manhasset or Roslyn with James Warwick, he said.

“She loved the movies, but she also loved the water and loved to be close to it,” James Warwick said. “She loved Port Washington’s waterfront and even lived close to the water when she was in Boston.”

Although she wasn’t wealthy, she donated to many charities in Port Washington, always giving as much as she could to help out a local cause, James Warwick said.

“She was very helpful to every charity,” he said.

On Oct. 15, James Warwick, a singer who goes by the stage name Jimmy Valentine, performed at the Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington and dedicated the show to his mother.

“It was a tough show to get through because of her passing, but she told me if anything happen that she wanted me to go on with the show,” James Warwick said. “She was very supportive of me.”

“She was just the best and such a terrific person,” James Warwick said. “She wasn’t just my mother; she was my friend as well.”

She is survived by her sons James and Christopher Warwick; her daughter, Pamela Warwick; and her grandson, Christopher St. Laurent.

When she died, per her request, Warwick’s body was donated to Stony Brook Medical School for research purposes.

By Stephen Romano

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