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Statue has turned into a patriotic conversation piecePosted Friday, August 21, 2009, at 3:58 PM
Photo courtesy of Linda Long
It's pretty unique and the story behind it is even more interesting.
Bloomfield resident Eleanor Kingley erected the 11-feet tall Lone Sailor wood statue last year as a tribute to her late husband and all U.S. military servicemen.
It is based upon the bronze Lone Sailor statue located in Washington D.C. It stands watch over the Granite Sea at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. and by other maritime locations throughout the U.S.
It a very good re-creation of the original work by artist Stanley Bleifeld.
The Lone Sailor statue is a composite of the U.S. Navy bluejacket, past, present, and future.
The idea to do something like this came to Kingsley following last June's tornado that blew down a large oak and several other Blue Spruce trees in her yard.
She told me that she needed something to fill in the bare spots.
She thought it would be nice to do something to "spruce u" her yard a bit and the idea of erecting the statue emerged.
The wooden statue is perched on the stump of the old oak tree.
He late husband, James F. Kingsley, served 22 years in the U.S. Navy. He later worked at NWSC Crane and then served as personnel manager for Indiana Limestone in Bedford before his death in 2007.
Her husband was a charter member of the Lone Sailor Association while he was stationed in Washington, D.C.
The Kingsleys came to Greene County about 40 year ago and interestingly their daughter was the last baby born at the old Navy Dispensary at Crane in 1959.
Patriotism is something that is near and dear to her family's heart. They've got a rich military tradition.
Her son, John H. Kingsley served eight years in the Air Force and another son, James Frances Kingsley, Jr. was in the U.S. Navy for six years.
Her grandson, John H. "Jay" Kingsley, Jr. is currently stationed in Charleston, S.C. with the U.S. Navy and will be deploying to Afghanistan in March 2010.
Her yard project has evolved into a community conversation piece in this military-proud town.
She initially talked with local wood carvers Jim Lee of Scotland and Randy Baker of rural Newberry to do the statue. Both felt it was more than they wanted to attempt, but they referred her to a fellow carver from southern Indiana.
Kingsley contacted Willy Cooper of Grandview in Spencer County and he agreed to take on the project -- using some pine wood that he had stored in his garage.
In July 2008, Cooper delivered the finished product to Bloomfield.
She paid him $2,000 for his creation, which she said included about a $300 tip because she liked it so much.
"I was really impressed. He did an excellent job on it," she told me recently.
Since then, Kingsley has spent another $300 and added a wrought iron fence and installed a light to illuminate the statue at night -- thanks to a donation from local Air Force retired colonel Marcus "Red" Oliphant.
Scotland carver Jim Lee is currently working on a carved anchor and will add a ship's wheel in the near future.
Kingsley also is in the process of having some special marine varnish applied to help preserve the art work.
So far, five coats been applied and she's hoping to get two more applications before cold weather hits.
"He (Cooper) said it should last about 40 years."
The statue has turned into quite a conversation piece and she's eager to share it with anyone who is interested.
"Hundreds of people have come by to see it," Kingley said. "Anyone is welcome to come."
What a wonderful tribute to our military service members. Mrs. Kingley should be saluted for a job well done.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wordmaster1953 .
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