Stanley Bleifeld, the artist who created two bronze sculptures for the United States Navy, has died due to a head injury last Friday, according to a feature on Hampton Roads. He was 86.
Bleifeld is behind the sculpture “The Lone Sailor,” which stands on a paved square facing the bridge of USS Wisconsin at Wisconsin Square. Another Bleifeld creation stands in the middle of Town Point Park, and depicts a Sailor with his wife and child, entitled “The Homecoming.”
Karen Rudd, the director of Cultural Affairs for the city of Norfolk, described the bronze sculptures as “really well-loved in Norfolk.”
“The Lone Sailor” and “The Homecoming” are showcased in different castings at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The installation of “The Homecoming” was made possible through the fund-raising efforts of Tom Leisher and the late Chuck Johnson, trustees of the Navy Memorial Foundation. They were able to raise $250,000 in two years, with contributions coming mostly from local businesspeople. The Foundation also raised funds for smaller monuments in honor of ships that met misfortune, which are positioned behind “The Lone Sailor.”
Leisher shared that Bleifeld’s sculpture “captured the essence” of the joy that families feel when they are reunited. Of the late sculptor, Leisher shared: “He was very easy to talk to. A great sculptor, and just as good a human being.”
In addition to the Navy sculptures, Bleifeld was also the artist behind other public monuments. Bleifeld unveiled a commission for the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Richmond, in 2008. “The Homecoming” was unveiled in Norfolk in 2000, while “The Lone Sailor” was unveiled the following year.