Three Sons of Ishpeming Memorial to honor prominent figures from area

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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – A new memorial on Hematite Drive had its first phase of construction on Tuesday afternoon.

The Three Sons of Ishpeming Memorial had its foundation poured for both the wall and baseboard.

It will honor three historically prominent figures who are from and grew up in Ishpeming: Dr. Glenn Seaborg, John Voelker, and Clarence “Kelly” Johnson.

“We have created a lot of leaders that have come from this community, so it’s been a pleasure to do this project,” said Bob Marietti, the coordinator for the memorial.

Seaborg was a notable chemist during the mid-1900s. He was the co-discoverer of plutonium and all further transuranium elements through element 102. Seaborg earned The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1951.

Voelker was an author who is best known for his novel, Anatomy of a Murder. He also served as a Michigan Supreme Court Justice from 1956 to 1960.

Johnson was an aeronautical engineer and designer; he designed the world’s fastest and highest-flying aircraft—the SR-71 Blackbird. He earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson, for his advancement of aeronautics.

“I’ve never met any of the gentlemen, but I relied on what I could find from historical documents to give me an idea of who they were and what they look like,” said Mike Lempinen, the artistic creator of the memorial. “I have completed the sculpture and in fact, right after the fourth of July, it’ll go to the studio for casting into bronze. The bronze will be brought back here and mounted onto a large piece of hematite, which we’re getting from the Republic mine.”

The Three Sons of Ishpeming memorial is expected to be finished by Fall 2020.

This is the first memorial that will be a part of the Heritage Plaza, a bigger project that will include more monuments dedicated to notable figures from the Ishpeming area.

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