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Founder of City Museum Has Died; Created Musical Lion Benches in U City

City Museum founder Bob Cassilly was found dead on Monday, according to media reports.

Bob Cassilly, the founder of the City Museum has died, according to media sources. He was 61.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Cassilly's body was discovered in a bulldozer at his current project site called Cementland, in north St. Louis. It appeared he died in a construction accident.

"City Museum is saddened by the loss of our founder and inspiration, Robert Cassilly," said a message on the City Museum website.

In University City, Cassilly created the musical lion benches near City Hall at the corner of Delmar and Trinity. The benches were completed in 1999. On one bench sits a lion character playing a horn. The other bench features a lion character playing a lute.

"His lion benches in U City are already an integral part of our City's artistic heritage. I know hundreds of U City children have enjoyed spending time with our lions, climbing on the turtles and serpents in Turtle Park, and discovering all the wonders of the City Museum," said University City Mayor Shelley Welsch in a statement to University City Patch. "He was a visionary. Our community will miss his talents. I am glad U City has a concrete reminder of his genius in his lion benches."

"The City has lost some of its wonder. RIP Bob Cassilly," tweeted St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

People are expressing their sadness at Cassilly's passing on the Facebook page of the City Museum. "This was sincerely soul crushing news today. So sad at his loss... BUT SO DESPERATELY HONORED FOR HIS VISION," wrote one woman named Amy Lambert.

remembrance page on Facebook features photos of the artist's work. 

Cassilly held an art degree from Fontbonne University in .

Click here to see other St. Louis public art by Cassilly.

 

Dan Callahan contributed to this story.

Myra Lopez September 26, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Candlelight vigil planned tonight (7:30pm) @citymuseum in memory of Bob Cassilly's life. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=225505487507309
Earl Higgins September 27, 2011 at 01:15 PM
I met Bob once--in the cave/tunnels under The City Museum. He was pleased to see someone in a wheelchair (me) navigating their way through the structure, and told me he designed it to be accessible. If you looked at it, you wouldn't have guessed it was wheelchair accessible, but thanks to his attention to detail and his desire to include everyone, it actually was navigable by wheelchair! He truly will be missed.
Gregory Pace September 27, 2011 at 01:26 PM
9-26-11. The day the art died...

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