Popeye statue to be erected
June 7, 1977—Page 11 Hometown To Honor 'Popeye 1 CHESTER, 111. (AP) - The women of Beta Sigma Phi want to bring Popeye the Sailor Man home where he belongs—here. They figure it's the only fitting fitting way to honor Elvie Segar, a Chester native who thought up the feisty cartoon swabbie. Members of the Xi Upsilon chapter of Beta Sigma Phi sorority sorority have raised $10,000 to erect a 6-foot bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor sometime this month, in tribute to his creator. Popeye and Wimpy, another cartoon character, both were fashioned after citizens of this small Southern Illinois town on the Mississippi River. Members of the sorority raised money for the memorial through donations and sales of Popeye memorabilia such as spirtach banks and ceramic statues. "We wanted to bring Popeye home," said one of the women. Scheduled to attend the June 25 dedication is Bud Sagendorf of South Berry, Conn., who has depicted Popeye ever since Segar, who later lived in California, died in 1938. The cartoonist's nephew, Louis Segar, said his uncle's model for Popeye was "Rocky Figiel. He was a bartender by trade and did odd jobs around town. He was quite a scrapper." scrapper." Wimpy, who constantly munches on hamburgers in Popeye cartoons, managed an opera house in real life. Segar worked for him as a youth, the nephew explained, and one of his daily tasks was to "ru" down to the old Weibusch Saloon and order a couple of hamburgers" for his employer. employer. Popeye's spinach trademark was introduced "because of the influence Popeye had on children. He was a fighter and parents complained when children were also fighting to imitate Popeye," Segar said. "So my uncle toned him down a little and added the spinach, hoping the kids would eat it, too." The statue by St. Louis artist Robert Walker will stand in a grassy knoll off Illinois 3. A likeness of Segar and a short history of Popeye will be inscribed on a marble base.