MIDDLEPORT — The dream of an artist to do something for the place where he started was fulfilled Sunday when a sculpture he created cast in bronze was unveiled at Middleport Village Hall, formerly the Middleport Elementary School.
About a hundred people, many alumni of Middleport schools, gathered in the lobby to witness the unveiling of the gift from Charles “Bob” DeLay, the 1957 graduate of Middleport High School who went on to become an acclaimed sculptor, painter and designer. His works are displayed in locations across the country, with six being in Washington, D.C.
The life-size sculpture is of a mother reading to her small child. It is featured in an enclosure along with a memorial plaque in tribute to teachers and is surrounded with an array of green plants provided by Bob’s Market.
Before the unveiling, Mayor Michael Gerlach spoke in appreciation of DeLay’s gift to the community and credited Linda Myers for her work in raising money for the casting from MHS alumni, teachers, and others. He introduced the sculptor who responded with comments on his life as a student in the Middleport schools and of the positive influence of the teachers in his life which led to his career in the arts.
He related humorous events which occurred while attending Middleport High School one of which involved a teacher who took him to the superintendent’s office for what he thought was punishment, although he didn”t know what for, but found out he had been singled out because she felt he needed a class reassignment to better fit his talent.
The orange and black scarf which covered DeLay’s sculpture was removed by former Middleport teachers to the applause of the alumni and guests. In the group were Twila Childs, Paula Whitt, Leann King, Emma Ashley, Mary Sue Brauer, Shelia Bevan, Becky Zurcher, Janice Lisle, Carolyn Collins, Teresa Carr and Stacy Scarberry. They represented the last group of teachers at the Middleport Elementary School which closed in 2003 when the Meigs Local School District consolidated. Among the other teachers attending the unveiling ceremony were Myrna Gregg, Jeannette Thomas, and Virginia Hall.
Middleport school memorabilia was displayed and refreshments were served in the auditorium during a concluding social hour.