Phlip Cloutier's memory will be preserved in the entranceway to the library he worked for many years to acquire for Brandywine Hundred but which he did not live to see built.

A life-size bronze statue of the late civic leader and politician will be formally unveiled on Aug. 7 at 4 p.m. in the Brandywine Hundred branch library on Foulk Road.

The statue and the decision to position it in a place where thousands of people who will benefit for years to come from the result of what was probably the foremost of Cloutier's many public projects is both a fitting tribute and a recognition of the respect and esteem in which he was held by many

people whom he served, according to Ernest Cragg, a director of the Phil Cloutier Memorial Foundation.

"He had a standard he lived by that caught the admiration of people," Cragg said.

The statue, a Charles Parks sculpture, was commissioned and paid for by private funds raised by the foundation. "The group is about as far-ranging across the political spectrum as you'll see," he said.

Joseph Mitchell is president and treasurer of the foundation. Alan Levin, chief executive of Happy Harry's, is vice president. Donovan Carbaugh is secretary. Directors include Cloutier's widow, state Senator Cathy Cloutier, Senator Charles Copeland, Representative Robert Valihura, County Councilman Robert Weiner, and Jerry Martin, Joan Hicks and Ronald Poliquin.

New Castle County is providing the base on which the statue will be positioned. County Executive Tom Gordon and chief administrative officer Sherry Freebery, who are hosting the unveiling are Democrats. Cloutier was a Republican.

After running unsuccessfully for election to be lieutenant governor, Cloutier was elected of County Council, serving in that position from

Ernest Cragg points a text from the writings of Thomas Aquinas, which is readable on the statue of Philip Cloutier. The statue is on a fork lift in preparation for its being moved the the Brandywine Hundred branch library where it will be on permanent display.

1989 until 1993. He went on to be state representative from 1995 until his death from cancer, at age 48, in 1998.

Before seeking elective office, Cloutier was active with the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred. It was while in that capacity that he and others began pressing for a modern regional-level public library to replace the small and outmoded one in Talleyville.

Cragg said a telling event in Cloutier's life what when the Du Pont Co., where he worked for 25 years including the time he held public office, offered him a major promotion which would have included a transfer to Switzerland.

"He turned it down, telling them his intention was to spend his spare time in public service," Cragg said. "Here is a guy opting for public service when he didn't have to and it would have been to his great advantage not to."

The sculpture is unusual as heroic statues go in that it depicts a seated and relaxed Cloutier wearing eyeglasses and reading a book. It is not just a generic book, but a volume of the works of Thomas Aquinas, a 13th Century Christian theologian and philosopher.

That is more than fitting, Cragg said. Aquinas was Cloutier's 'patron saint' and, in effect, a sort of mentor.

Cragg said three books by and about Aquinas were the last book purchase Cloutier made before his death. "He gave them to Cathy and said, 'This is me'," Cragg said.

Posted on August 1, 2004

2004. All rights reserved.

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