Jim and Mary Strong
Mary was raised on a dairy farm in Buena Park, California, three miles from Knott’s Berry Farm and Jim was raised in Grand Junction, Colorado. They met in California in 1964 when they worked for Autonetics; she as a secretary and Jim as an illustrator. In 1965 they ventured to Arizona where they lived in the Valley of the Sun for 34-years and raised their three children. . . Kim, Brian and Kristy.
Jim attended the prestigious Art Center School in Los Angeles, California and graduated in 1961. On moving to Arizona, he worked as head instructor for the Scottsdale School of Art. In 1967 he founded the Jim Strong School of Fine Arts where he also acted as head instructor for 33 years, after which he sold the school and moved to Payson. The school is still in existence under the name Arizona Art School. Now that Jim is retired, he has more time to create his own western oil paintings.
Jim and Mary bought the WD Ranch in 1978 because as they were walking around the Gibson Ranch property, they felt as though they were coming home and loved it. The name is derived from her father's cattle brand; WD for William DeJager.
Ever since he was a young boy, Jim has had a love of art and Indian artifacts. Jim and Mary hunt arrowheads on their property and have become avid collectors of Indian artifacts, western collectibles and antiques. They have an antique booth at the Western Village Art and Antique Corral 1304 South Beeline Hwy. in Payson.