The Hiker: A Memorial for John LedBetter

The Hiker: Memorial Mosaic

The Hiker: Memorial Mosaic

John Winslow LedBetter was a beloved husband, father, doctor and Scoutmaster. He passed away last March and is missed by family and friends. Last summer, his widow Gwenda, approached me about creating a memorial to him. The original idea was for a cairn, as a symbol of John’s endless love for the mountains. The idea resonated but presented challenges at the cemetery, where a single boulder looms over a neighboring gravesite. With the vertical space already claimed, we opted to paint on a horizontal canvas.

The Hiker: Source design

The Hiker: Source design

During the first conversation I had with Gwenda about the project, she gave me a simple card that was shared with everyone at John’s funeral. She noted with some pride that the sketch was a logo that John had drawn for his Scout troop. The iconic hiker image became the starting point of my design.

The Hiker: detail

The Hiker: detail

The gravesite, in the historic Riverside Cemetery in the Montford section of Asheville, is long and lean, at 4′ by 10′. This had a significant impact on how I drew the design. The hiker rests briefly, taking in the sun setting over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The original artwork has an everyman silhouette, which I have replaced with John’s profile, drawn from pictures his family provided.

 

The Hiker: detail

The Hiker: detail

The construction process has gone slowly, mostly because of some gravity testing I did with a very large stone and my finger. Gravity still works; finger still recovering. I cut John’s figure from scraps of a countertop material called Absolute Black. The sunset is sandstone from Tennessee. The mountains, now underway, are Pennsylvania bluestone.

I hope to begin installation this week. More images to come.