Lefty’s Memorial

A proper send off for a Whiteaker legend — Stephen ‘Lefty’ Kelleher

On Sunday, Sept. 10,  friends of Stephen “Lefty” Kelleher celebrated his life with a parade, walking behind his hearse and urn and winding through the Whiteaker neighborhood giving Lefty’s signature bird salute.

Sculptor Jud Turner was asked by Lefty’s close friends, including his longtime best friend Johnny Scooter, to make Lefty’s urn. Turner says, “Five or six years ago Lefty gave me an old beer tap handle that he had modified to be a hand flipping the bird. I didn’t really know what to do with it, but I put it in a special place in my studio.”

Turner says it seemed like the perfect element to feature on top, and he “combined that with some beautiful cast iron filigree elements to be the legs of the urn, to symbolize the yin yang of his personality, a tough guy with a big heart.” He added motorcycle parts to honor Lefty’s history as a biker.

In addition to the urn, Turner says, “It seems like such a beloved, public figure needed a public memorial for people to be able to focus their love and sadness.”

He asked the owners of San Bond’s,  if they could install a permanent memorial at the corner of Fourth and Blair, and says they were eager to support the project. Turner had also been given Lefty’s hook “hand” implement, “that made him so memorable and legendary,” and it for is the centerpiece of the memorial sculpture. Turner says, “Held high up and in triumph, it is securely welded to a heavy metal base that also features motorcycle parts, and 10 prominent spikes around it to protect the sacred hook.”

The memorial is accompanied by stainless steel engraved plaques that describe who Lefty was to the neighborhood and why the memorial is there.

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