Sculptor of downtown art piece dies

April 17, 2012

By Staff

Richard Beyer, creator of downtown Issaquah’s most recognizable sculpture, died April 9 — almost 11 years after a unveiling a life-size piece depicting late City Clerk Linda Ruehle across from City Hall.

Beyer, also known for creating the whimsical “Waiting for the Interurban” sculpture in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, died at age 86 in New York City. The sculptor suffered a stroke March 27 and never regained consciousness.

Bystanders sometimes outfit the Ruehle sculpture and the Fremont piece in clothing and accessories meant to reflect the season or holidays. (The downtown sculpture donned a Salmon Days Festival T-shirt, a golf cap and a bouquet of flowers after the 2001 debut.)

The piece depicts Ruehle, ledger in hand, seated atop a bench fashioned from city code books.

Before she retired in June 2001, she served as city clerk for 27 years. Ruehle died in August 2005 at age 63.

Beyer’s sculptures dot the landscape in Seattle, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Yakima and other Evergreen State cities.

The sculptor added wry details to the pieces — a dog depicted in “Waiting for the Interurban,” for instance, bears the face of a man opposed to installing the sculpture in Fremont.

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