Monday, June 26, 2006

rainy weekend in my father's yard

ruth ziolkowski

one of my first postings on the nutmeg grater was about the statue of noah webster in west hartford center (and the little story i heard that goes along with that statue and it's missing finger). i came across this story about ruth ziolkowski. wife, widow of the sculpter, korczak ziolkowski. turns out ms ziolkowski is a west hartford native and is overseeing her husband's legacy; the crazy horse sculpture in the dakotas.

Crazy Horse sculptor's wife: In charge at 80
By Carson Walker, Associated Press Writer June 25, 2006
CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, S.D. --Some people openly share their wisdom, experience and advice on how to live a full life. But Ruth Ziolkowski, in charge of the world's largest mountain carving, simply leads through example.
The widow of self-taught sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, whose dream it was to honor American Indians by carving the likeness of Sioux warrior Crazy Horse into a granite mountain in the southern Black Hills, turns 80 on Monday.
The Connecticut native didn't set out to run a multimillion-dollar operation that spans a 1,000-acre complex, employs 176 -- including seven of the couple's 10 children and several grandchildren -- and draws more than a million visitors a year.
But after her husband's death in 1982, Ziolkowski felt she must carry through with his commitment -- and use dynamite, drills and determination to fulfill the dream she had already adopted as her own.
"It's not a one-person deal. I'm the one that gets all of the accolades and all of the glory and it doesn't need to be that way," Ziolkowski said in an interview at the memorial's Laughing Water Restaurant. "This is a team effort. It wouldn't be here if we didn't have a lot of great people."
Even at 80, Mrs. Z, as she's known around the complex, is very much in charge. She is always willing to greet visitors with a smile, pose for a photo and ask where they're from.
Ziolkowski is genuine, sincere, humble and gracious, said Rollie Noem, chief operating officer.
"She's very detailed but also very visionary. She's an astute business person and she lives this project 24/7. It is her passion," Noem said...........