- Associated Press - Saturday, February 14, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - A new memorial honoring former Gov. Ernest McFarland was unveiled in Phoenix just in time for Arizona Statehood Day.

The memorial to McFarland was dedicated Saturday afternoon at Wesley Bolin Plaza, according to project spokeswoman Suzanne Jameson. The day also happens to mark the 103rd anniversary of Arizona becoming an official state.

McFarland’s grandson, John D. Lewis, told the Arizona Capitol Times (https://bit.ly/1EsmprW) the memorial replaces one that was dedicated in 1998 but has since fallen into disrepair.

“He worked so hard and the old memorial was just disgusting to the family . He got the memorial he deserves,” Lewis said.

Lewis and McFarland’s other grandchildren led a fundraising effort to get the new memorial made. They were able to raise $400,000. According to the Department of Administration, repairs would cost $250,000. So, the family has also set up a fund for future maintenance and repair work.

The old memorial’s wall was crumbling and included a fountain that didn’t work, Lewis said. Photos included in it had also gone missing or become damaged. In a brighter contrast, the new memorial starts with a spiral path lined with panels telling McFarland’s life story. It ends with a 24-foot-tall arch and a rock with a plaque. The rock has an image of a workhorse to inspire visitors, according to architect Don Ryden.

“It isn’t achieving your dream that’s the point . The prize is the legacy that he left behind for everybody on the way,” Ryden said.

McFarland was a senator between 1941 and 1953 until Barry Goldwater unseated him. He earned a reputation as being one of the “Fathers of the G.I. Bill” after he introduced the legislation in Congress to help returning soldiers pay for college and get home loans. The Democrat then became governor and served from 1955 to 1959. Among the other causes he campaigned for was state water rights. He went on to be an Arizona Supreme Court justice in 1964. He served as chief justice from 1968 to 1970.

He died in 1984 at the age of 89.

Lewis said the new memorial will hopefully educate visitors about his grandfather.

“I’d like them to walk away from this kind of like seeing a really good movie that inspires you or makes you think,” Lewis said.


Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, https://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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