Home Sculptor News Friendship spurs artist to give Lincoln statue on loan to Parkview –...

Friendship spurs artist to give Lincoln statue on loan to Parkview – Entertainment & Life – Journal Standard

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FREEPORT — Much is known about the history of Abraham Lincoln in northwest Illinois when it comes to the famous debate with Stephen Douglas.

It is Ramon “Jay” Castro of Freeport who took that remembrance further to create a sculpture of a young soldier Captain Abraham Lincoln who marched with his men from Fort Dixon to the battlefield of the fallen militia soldiers at Kellogg’s Grove near Kent in Stephenson County.

The young 22-year-old Lincoln has been immortalized with small sculptures that were sold to help pay for the big permanent soldier that was erected at the monument site near Kent in 2018.

While Castro took the time to create the statues, it was all born between a friendship of two men, Castro and Ed Higgins, who died in 2012. Higgins became a friend and a mentor to Castro after a chance meeting at an open house in the late 80s.

“I first met Ed at a business open house in downtown Freeport,” Castro said. “Ed and his wife Dorothy owned a business called Borchers at the time. It was a friendship that began with a bump at the door that grew to many meetings over a nice glass of Port wine and a good cigar.”

Ed and Dorothy have since died, but Castro remains friends with Ed’s son, Bob Higgins from Cincinnati, Ohio. Before Ed died, he lived at Parkview and loved the care he received at the retirement home. Castro said it was through Ed’s support that he was able to create the sculptures of the young Lincoln.

After Dorothy died, Castro and Ed traveled to Mexico to visit the many places Ed and Dorothy traveled as a couple. Ed talked to Castro about doing the sculptures. It was Ed who purchased the first five to sell to help raise funds to keep the project going forward.

“Ed was a father figure to me, a mentor and he supported me as an artist,” Castro said. “I talked about this at length with his son Bob, and I decided I wanted to give a sculpture of the young Lincoln on loan to Parkview in the memory of Ed.”

Bob said he was moved by the gesture when the two men met this past Monday to present the sculpture to Deb Gitz, administrator of Parkview.

“My father was such a man of community in Freeport when he was alive, and he loved the care he received at Parkview,” Bob said. “Parkview was his home at the end of his life, and he had such a strong friendship with Jay, so having this sculpture at Parkview in my father’s memory means that he is not forgotten.”

Bob added, “Dad was a historian, and to have this statue placed in his memory would make him smile.”

Jane Lethlean; jlethlean1210@gmail.com; @DOGWMN2



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