CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Anyone who has ever visited West Virginia University Tech's campus in Montgomery will remember the stone statue of the Tech Golden Bear. The artist who carved the bear has died.
George Connard Brison Wolfe died Thursday at age 79. The Kanawha County native was noted for his sculpture and his paintings.
His sister, Lita Pell, said her brother was self-taught, and he even made his own carving tools. He was known for taking springs from cars and turning them into the tools he needed. She also said he was able to make his living as an artist and remain in his home in Kanawha County. But he competed successfully in art contests as far away as New York City.
Wolfe worked on both a large and a small scale. Some of his work was even carved from boulders. His reclining nude can still be seen from the hills around Paint Creek. But Pell said he also made small wooden carvings for her children; each carving was specifically representative for each child, she said.
The Tech Bear is one of her favorites, she said. The bear represents both the West Virginia native black bear and the school's Golden Bear sports emblem.
At the West Virginia State Museum, three of his works are in the collection: "Christ in Gethsemane," "Madonna and Child," and "The Kiss."