Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

C. Warner Williams - The Artist

April 23, 1903 - Aug. 3, 1982 

Portrait of the artist as a young man: Warner Williams in 1930...

...and at age 74.

Perhaps more than any other individual, Warner Williams is remembered locally as Culver's "star" artist, earning a national reputation besides his local one. He was a fixture in Culver, famous for his art and other accomplishments -- including a geodesic dome that he and his wife, Jean, built in their backyard at 309 White Street -- and visible long after retirement age bicycling around town, before his death on September 3, 1982.

Williams was born April 23, 1903 in Henderson, KY, a graduate of Berea College, also earning degrees at the Art Institute in Chicago and John Herron Art School in Indianapolis. He and taught and lectured before 1940, when he came to Culver Academy as artist-in-residence, marrying Jean (formerly Jean Aber, born 1916 in Racine, Wisconsin) in 1948 and retiring from the Academy in 1969. Jean has been an art teacher in Ohio, having graduated from Oberlin College, and had married Robert Kernohan in 1939 and moving to Culver (she later, of course, was divorced from Kernohan).

Warner Williams' art is a familiar sight to many Culver residents, most prominently displayed via many of his sculptures at the Culver Public Library. He was probably most famous outside of Culver, however, for his design of medallions and coin medals. He designed the Indianapolis Speedway's 50th Anniversary medallion as well as Indiana's Sesquicentennial medallion. Working out of his geodesic dome, he also produced the series of animal sculptures on display at the library (see images), and bas-relief portraits of famous persons and several satirical-political medallions and limericks. Williams was an amateur astronomer and in addition to building the geodesic dome and several telescopes, also ground his own lenses. He became something of a local celebrity as a result, and many people from all walks of life received tours of his dome and its contents.

His wife Jean served for several years as town board president and was also an artist in her own right, working as a calligrapher and designing a billboard for the town of Culver, among other accomplishments.

His artistic life can be found accounted for in various newspaper articles:

Chicago Sculptor to Exhibit Work and Explain Art to Academy Corps
The Culver Citizen, August, 1930.

An exhibition of sculpture by C. Warner Williams will open at the Culver Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon, August 16th. Culver Summer School is sponsoring this exhibit by the young Chicago sculptor, who was formerly of Indianapolis.

Mr. Williams has recently completed two years of study with Allien Polasek at the Art Institute of Chicago, made possible by a tuition scholarship to the Art Institute award to Mr. Williams by the Daughters of Indiana the last two years.

Previous to coming to Chicago in 1928 Mr. Williams finished in 1926 at John Herron Art Institute where he studied under Myra Reynolds Richards. He has served as Art Director of the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.

He has modeled portraits of many prominent people in that city and Indiana.

He is originally a Kentuckian, three years a student at Berea College, Kentucky, but is known as the Hoosier Sculptor, partly because he was exhibited annually at the Hoosier Salon, where he has been twice a prize winner. He has also exhibited several years at Art Institute at Indianapolis and the Indiana State Fair, where he is an outstanding prize winner in sculpture.

In Chicago he has also exhibited in the Women's City Club, Chicago Art Institute, Hoosier Gallery, Women's Club Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University, Georgian Hotel, Gary College Club, North End Club Chicago, Thurlier Galleries, etc., and at the recent exhibition of childrens' portraits sponsored by the Health Exhibition at which he won the first sculpture prize awarded by a popular vote of six thousand.

Mr. Williams is a very serious worker and has executed some 75 portrait commissions in the past five years.

Mr. Williams will be remembered by some Culver people as having spent the summer of 1928 here, where he modeled portraits of several persons, among them being Susanna Stewart, granddaughter of Mrs. Clemens Vonnegut and young Milford Hall Davis, small son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul H. Davis. Both of these portraits will be part of the exhibit which numbers about twenty-five bas-relief heads, five full-length bas-relief , five heads in the round, some small figures, and a life size figure in the round.

The latter is a commission completed only last month, of the small son of Carol Shaffer, grandson of Mrs. John Shaffer of Indianapolis. This life-size portrait in the round of the small boy will serve as a fountain figure in the garden of Carroll Shaffer's new home in Winnetka, Illinois.

While in Culver he will give several exhibitions of modeling and will address the various schools on sculpture and select a boy from each school of whom to make a sketch in clay to show them something of how sculpture is made.

"Cheif Medicine Wood", a bust medeled by C. Warner WIlliams, artisit in residence at Culver is being displayed during March and April in the annual art exhibition at the Art institute in Chicago. Mr. Williams received notice last week that the unsual study had been accepted for the annual exhibit. Artist Williams study was made of Earnest Benedict, editor and publisher of a national Indian newspaper, during the summer of 1941. Benedict, whose Indiana title is "Chief Medicine Wood", spends his summers at Culver as instructor in Indian lore in the woodcraft camp.

C. Warner Williams Completes Work For Two Bronze Plaques Honoring Knute Roche and Saint Cabrini
Culver Citizen

To Be Erected In Hillside, Ill., and Voss, Norway

Sculptor Warner Williams, artist-in-residence at Culver Military Academy, has completed work for two new bronze plaques honoring the memory of t h e late Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini.

The Rockne plaque was commissioned last summer and is to be erected in Rockne's hometown of Voss, Norway. The plaque of Saint Cabrini will be placed in the Queen of Heaven mausoleum in Hillside, Ill.

The idea of placing a plaque in Rockne's memory in Voss originated with a group of Norwegian patriots living in Chicago. The American Embassy in Norway will be in charge of special commemorative ceremonies when the plaque is erected in Voss.

A 24 by 32-inch tablet, the Rockne plaque carries a double inscription, one in Norwegian and one in English. It reads "Giant of American Football KNUTE ROCKNE Was born here March 4, 1888 He left Norway as a small boy and became a pioneer and all-time great in American football as a player and a coach at the University of Notre Dame. Died March 31, 1931 DEDICATED — 1962"

Rockne left Voss, Norway in 1893, when he was five years old and came to America. He entered Notre Dame in 1913 and became widely known as a football player in the years that followed. In 1918 he became coach at Notre Dame and until death ended his career in an a i r p l a n e accident in 1931, created a record that included 105 victories, 12 defeats, five ties, and five seasons in w h i c h Notre Dame was unbeaten and untied.

Canonization usually takes place many years, sometimes centuries, after death. But in the case of Mother Cabrini, who was the first American citizen to attain this honor, this regulation was waived by direct order of Pope Pius XI.

Among her good works was the establishment of hospitals and other charitable institutions in the United States and in many foreign countries. She arrived in this country in 1889 and died, at the age of 67, in 1917.

Williams was a free lance sculptor-designer in Chicago before he became associated with Culver in 1940. He had done a great deal of portraiture work in addition to supervising the art program at the Academy. He also is interested in and teaches astronomy, telescope making and photography at Culver.

Williams also has done bas-relief portraits of author George Ade, symphony orchestra conduct r Leopold Stokowski, cartoonist John McCutcheon, pianist Alec Templeton, and American Medical Association President Dr. William A. Pusey.

Born in Henderson, Ky., Williams attended Berea ( K y .) College, Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind.; Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis; and the Chicago Art Institute . He graduated with honors in art history and appreciation at Chicago Art Institute, and received scholarships at three other schools.

Sculptor Warner Williams works with a clay model in creating the plaque honoring the memory of late Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. Williams had a series of Rockne pictures from which to work, but selected one of the most familiar pictures of the famous coach in preparing the model later cast in bronze

This is the clay model of a bronze plaque of the late Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne to be erected in his hometown of Voss, Norway. Sculptor C. Warner Williams recently completed the Rockne plaque after working with various photographs of the famous coach

First American citizen to be made a saint by the Catholic church was Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. This is a bas-relief portrait completed by Culver Military Academy sculptor C. Warner Williams for a bronze plaque to be placed in the mausoleum in the Queen of Heaven mausoleum at Hillside, Ill.

October 5, 1949 - Warner Williams, Culver artist, was the subjuct of an interesting personality story in a recent issue of The Louisville, Ky.,Courier Journal Sunday magazine. Titled "Master of Arts," the illustrated article tells of theartist and of his varied educational and vocational interests.

Plaque Commemorates Founding Of Culver Woodcraft Camp
Culver Citzen

This plaque, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Woodcraft Camp as part of the Culver Slimmer Schools, was designed by artist-in-residence Warner Williams. The plaque symbolizes the accomplishments of the camp over a period since 1012 when more than 15,000 boys were enrolled. The original of the plaque stands at the entrance to the Woodcraft Camp on the campus of Culver Military Academy, and will be viewed by a large number of visitors expected to attend summer-long observances of the anniversary. Williams a well known sculptor, has been a member of the Culver faculty since 1940.

September 29, 1965 Culver Military Acasemy artist-in-Residence Warner Williams has been informed that he has won the competition and the $1,000 prize for designing the Indiana Sesquicentennial medallion.

Warner Williams, CMA Artist, Retiring
-Unknown source,
18 May, 1968

The faculty of Culver Military Academy will attend a recognition banquet Monday in honor of Warner Williams, artist-in-residence, who is retiring after 28 years of service.

Williams created both the Indiana Sesquicentennial Medallion and the medal marking the fiftieth running of the Indianapolis 500. Sales of these medals have surpasses the $500,000 mark. Although he seldom enters competitions, he was invited and paid for His entry in the Sesquicentennial Medallion competition. He enters most of his work in exhibitions.

Williams was given complete freedom in the design of the state medal, but the committee replaced his reverse design with the state seal in holding with state pride and some precedent.

The observe, or front, side of the medal illustrated a Hoosier log cabin with beams radiating from it to towering representations of agricultural, industrial and commercial growth.

Speedway officials decided that they could have their own medallion after they saw the state medal Williams was commissioned to create a design which reflected the progress seen throughout the years at the Speedway. He contrasted the Marmon Wasp, winner of the first race, and the old Pagoda with a new rear-engine car and the new Tower. Demand exceeded supply of models on sale at the fiftieth Memorial Day Classic.

In designing both medals, Willliams found the concept of evolution to be the most interesting lead in his research. He believes that his form of art is more absolute than a question of the period of time which it represents. "If the design in an interpretation of fundamental laws, it is timeless. It has perpetual value, even though it may have periodic characteristics."

His work has ranged in emphasis from children to great men to evolution. Much of his work today is commissioned by education institutions. Some of his more famous commissions include bas-relief of John F. Kennedy, Leopold Stokowski, Thomas Edison, George Ade, John T. MeCutcheon, Pope Paul XXIII, Knute Rockne, and Stan Musial.

He plans to design a series of modernistic animal studies and large reliefs of famous musicians scientists, religious leaders and great men of the ages. Much of the work will be done in a geodesic dome, a structure 44 feet in diameter which he built next to his home. Williams was a free lance sculptor - designer in Chicago before he became associated with Culver in 1940. He has done portraiture work in addition to supervising the art program at the Academy. He teaches winter and summer students in art technique, design and appreciation.

Born In Henderson, Kentucky, William attended Berea, (Ky) College, Butler University, IndianapoIis, Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis and the Chicago Art Institute. He was graduated with honors in art history and appreciation from the Chicago Art Institute and received scholarships from three other schools

His sons, Earle and David, are students at Culver Military Academy, and he has a daughter, Sylvia, 13, at home and an older daughter Carroll.


Warner Williams , nationally known Culver sculptor and artist, was recently chosen to design a medal for The Hamilton Mint, Arlington, Illinois. Williams was among twelve sculptors chosen to design a medal in that company's "Sculptor's America" series. The commission specified a medal on the Americana theme, depicting the artist's interpretation of America. Complete freedom was given to the artist to choose a design.

The medals will be minted in a 2" sterling silver format. Mr. Williams chose to depict in bas relief several of what he considers to be our country's great achievements, without making a social comment on their desireability.

The design includes the arm of the Statue of Liberty with torch, a rocket, an airplane, and the mushroom cloud from an atom bomb detonation.

he medal is dominated by the torch of liberty. since Williams believes that, "perhaps the single greatest achievement of America is her liberty".

Noting that the depiction of the bomb on the medal does not necessarily connote a negative message. he reminded us that, "The bomb ca n be great. if so used.··

Clouds in the background of the design serve to add depth to the design. which is made nine inches in diameter and then reduced by the mint. On the model the relief is only 3/16ths of an inch.

Williams works fast when he has an idea. The commission letter arrived in Culver in March, and he had a sketch and the final master model finished by the end of April - Sep 8 1974

MASTER MODEL--This Is the nine inch master model of the new medal commissioned by The Hamilton Mint from Culver sculptor Warner Williams. Part of that company's new "Sculptor 's America" series, the deslgn reflects the artist's own interpretation of America. Williams chose four representations of this country's achievements, good or bad.

Williams: Sculpting is a Way of Life Sculptor's Career Fun, Profitable
Culver Citizen, Dec. 29, 1976

Warner Williams has never worked.

He's experienced every minute of his life, interlacing his career as a sculptor with his various hobbies.

Now at the age of 73, when most people have long since retired, Williams resides in Culver and spends almost every night in his geodesic dome studio he built himself still experiencing and enjoying his life.

If he's not photographing his work, he's playing the piano, grinding lenses for his homemade view camera, exploring the protozoan world in his microscope or building a telescope.

"I'm a do-it-yourselfer for economics, necessity and fun," explains the soft-spoken artist.

While his hobbies are most peoples' professions, Williams disclaims any talent overload. "I never felt I had much talent. Now I have a daughter who has a lot more talent than me." He proudly shows her picture and tells of all her accomplishments, even though has own are countless.

He spends his evenings in his studio that stands behind his home on White Street working on projects, not to make money, but to get it done. "I'm the kind of person," he explains, "who just wants to get finished. If something's out here, I like nothing better than to get it done."

Making art has been his livelihood, but mass production has never been his goal. I'm not interested in production. I rarely re-use my work. Most of it is personal. I give a lot of things away," he says of a profession that really began when he was digging clay on the creek bank and modeling clay heads as a child.

His artistic qualifications read almost like anyone's, he says. He calls it a typical art education,.

But Williams extended his typical education to make the largest selling state medal. In 1966 he was selected in closed competition to design Indiana Sesquicentennial medallion.

Chances are that most people have seen his work unknowingly. He has done countless busts and medallions of famous persons, many of them on display at universities and museums.

Competition in his field, he says, isn't really' very difficult. He remembers his first portrait. "I was working in Indianapolis in a restaurant across the street from the Art Institute. A dentist used to come in. We became friends and I got free dental work. In return I did a portrait of his daughter. That was my first one. J.K. Lily, of the pharmaceutical company, saw it and that was the first time I was paid for my work," he recalled.

Williams freelanced from 1925 to 1940. In 1941 he came to Culver Military Academy to start the art department. When he left there in 1969 he decided to stay in Culver.

"It was familiar. My children were still in school. It was quiet, safe and I enjoyed the lake. I had no reason to leave." he explained.

"And although his life may sound easy and all fun, doing what he loves to do, Williams puts it this way, "Yes, you have your own hours, but they're long hours."

by Adrianna Hellstrom
Thursday February 22, 1979
Culver Citizen


Guests were Mr. and Mrs. Warner Williams. It was also their anniversary so Happy Anniversary was sung to them ...

Warner Williams well known Culver artists gavethe program on limrics. He described how to write a limeric They must consist of 5 lines three of which rhyme with the theme word, the first two and the last. The middle lines just rhyme

Mr. Williams read quite a few limerics that he had written an example.
Golden Agers

The term old age is just a fable.
A mean and disrespectful label.
You know they are young, in that Culver bunch.
The way they rush to their Wedensday lunch
And scramble to get to the table.

View The Moon At Culver Park
Thursday, September 27, 1979
Culver Citizen

Culver - Warner Williams, noted sculptor and designer has graciously accepted an invitation to bring his telescope to the Culver Town Park.

The instrument is an 8" Newtownian telescope with 1,500 times the light gathering power of the human eye and capable of seeing a lighted candle at Louisville, Ky. or to read the headlines of a newspaper 15 miles distant, so powerful is the telescope.

It’s magnifying power ranges from 80 to a theoretical 1,000 but as with all telescopes, usage is generally in the lower powers since atmospheric disturbances blur objects in the higher powers.

The instrument is hand made, including the parabolic mirror made of Pyrex glass, ground and polished to an accuracy of one-millionth of an inch. Mr Williams has also made telescopes of 6' . 8'. 10' and 12' diameter. The 10" is built with an automatic drive so that it will follow any star and counteract the revolution of the earth. Scientific American magazine has published several articles about this instrument.

The observation of the moon will take place in front of the Beach Lodge on one night only. October 1 will be the date for the viewing with October 2 and October 3 as back-up dates. Viewing will depend on the clearness of the sky and will begin at dusk-ending at 10:00 P.M. If you have any questions on those nights, please call 842- 35109 after 5 p.m.

CUlver Citizen
Thursday, October 11, 2012
West exterior of the White Devries Rowing center; the eagle emblem above the entrance is a recreation of an emblem created for members of the crew team by former Academies artist-in-residence, the late Warner Williams.

Culver’s Renaissance Man
By Rachel Meade
Culver Citzen
Antiquarian and Historical Society quarterly
Winter, 2013

Ask any long-time Culver citizen about Warner Williams, and you’ll probably hear a description of an eccentric man riding around town on his bicycle, his long beard flying behind him.

Others may recall the geodesic dome he constructed in his back yard, out of from which he churned out countless plaster animal sculptures following his 1968 retirement from the Culver Military Academy.
According to Warner’s son David, the dome was his habitat, from which he typically emerged only for meals. The dome still stands in town, as do his animal sculptures, bas-reliefs, and bronze medallions, which can be found in area homes, at the Culver Public Library, and throughout the Culver Academies campus

During his 28 years as artist-in-resident at the Culver Academies, Warner created countless works of art for the school; from the bust of long-time headwaiter Charlie Dickerson in the Dining Hall, to the processional cross at the campus chapel, to the Woodcraft 50th Anniversary plaque that hangs at the camp’s entrance. His commissioned bas-reliefs and sculptures can also be found in universities and museums across Indiana, Illinois, and beyond. The sculpted head of Voss native and Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne resides in Voss, Sweden.

Some of his more famous commissions include bas-relief of John F. Kennedy, Leopold Stokowski, Thomas Edison, George Ade, Mark Twain, John T. MeCutcheon, Pope Paul XXIII, John Wayne, and Stan Musial, among many others.

Warner was born in Kentucky, where he attended Berea College (in 1960, he would b appointed an aide de camp on the staff of the state’s Governor with the rank and grade of Colonel, for “success in your chosen field and…cultural-historical contributions to your home state.”).

He later spent several years studying at Chicago’s Art Institute under an honors scholarship. By 1930, Williams was known as “the Hoosier sculptor” for his work in the state, which included designing the best-selling medallions for the Indiana Sesquicentennial Medallion and the fiftieth running of the Indianapolis 500. In Illinois, he was commissioned to create murals and sculptures for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. He won the City of Chicago prize in 1931 and the Daughters of Indiana prize in 1939.

Despite the accolades, Warner Williams is remembered as a quiet, humble person who worked long hours through the end of his life, chiefly because he enjoyed it. In a 1968 interview Warner said, “I'm not interested in production. I rarely reuse my work. Most of it is personal. I give a lot of things away.”

Former CMA art teacher Anne Duff recalled how he kept a little basket of animal sculptures in the dome to hand out to his visitors. Regarding his style, Duff calls it “illustrative.”

In a 1930 interview with the Culver Citizen, Warner said, "If the design is an interpretation of fundamental laws, it is timeless. It has perpetual value.”

In addition to creating personal and commissioned pieces, Warner also spent a great deal of time educating the public about the process of artistic creation.

According to his son Earle, prior to coming to Culver, he spent years traveling throughout the Midwest giving lectures. With his oldest son Carroll running the projector, he would select someone from the audience and create a model of them in 20 minutes, which he would later fine-tune in his studio. Culver resident Marcia Adams recalled serving as a model for one of these public lectures. Warner sculpted her face and then aged it 40 years, demonstrating how the features of the face would change as the years passed.

Recalled how he once wrote to Life Magazine to complain that I and the F in the title were too close together. He later credited himself for the improved spacing.

Many recall the metal WW that adorned the front of his car. His son Earle explained that Warner always pried the metal dealership symbols of his cars.

“He despised advertising,” said Earle. “One time when I came home from college, I noticed all the soup cans had the labels taken off.”

Earle’s mother Jean explained that Warner had removed the labels in a fit of anti-commercialism.

Earle eventually inherited the WW plaque, which he adhered to his own car. Warner wrote hundreds of limericks, on scraps of paper, which his daughter-in-law has since compiled into a hefty booklet. They were typically political in nature, but according to David, “they often strayed into commenting on my girlfriends.”

A Thirst for Knowledge

Warner’s family and friends describe him as a Renaissance man whose curiosity for the world and breadth of creative interests was seemingly endless. In addition to his prolific artistic career, Warner wrote hundreds of satirical limericks, played piano and accordion, analyzed people’s characters by their handwriting, and read constantly. He built telescopes, the dome, and a wide-format camera used to photograph his art.

“If he couldn’t buy it, he’d build it,” said former Academy historian and Warner’s colleague Bob Hartman.

He built several telescopes, one of which resided on the roof of the Music and Arts building at the Academy.

“Every Saturday night when it was clear, cadets and families would come up and view planets and stars,” said Warner’s son David, noting that Scientific American Magazine featured Warner in a 1951 article about how to make your own telescope. One of his telescopes is still used at the observatory at the Woodcraft Camp.

According to David, “[Warner] was an artist by trade but he was really a scientist.

He spent a great deal of time studying the natural world and his animal sculptures attest to that interest.

“He was forever looking at pond water and sketching things— pictures of amoeba and anything he could spy in the microscope,” said his son Earle.

In the pre-Internet age, Warner relied upon print sources to feed his insatiable thirst for knowledge.

“He just absorbed literature. He had a full Encyclopedia Britannica at home and he would read it at night cover to cover,” said David.

Warner spent a great deal of time at the Culver Public Library and developed close friendships with several librarians. As a testament to that relationship, he donated a sizeable collection of animal sculptures to the library in the 1970’s.

Warner was also an avid writer of letters. He corresponded with first lady Pat Nixon commiserating with her over Watergate. He also wrote to close friend and famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, who designed a number of sculptures in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza. David and his mother Jean once visited Milles’ home and studio in Stockholm, and found a stockpile of letters from Warner to Carl— “really intense letters about the nature of the universe.”


By all accounts, Warner Williams was a true eccentric. Locals typically recall his appearance first, describing him as a Gandalf-like figure.

“He would wear this paper bag as a hat to keep his head warm. He would even wear it to dinner. He didn’t care what people thought,” said his son David. “He was this little gnome with a massive beard,” said David.

“He was small of stature, but feisty, a rather ornery person,” said Anne Duff.

The Williams Family

David, Earle, and Sylvia all grew up in Culver, attending Culver Military Academy. Warner’s son David said that when his family first moved into town, they were looked at with suspicion by neighbors, who wondered about these eccentric Academy people with the dome in their backyard.

Warner’s second wife Jean was an artist as well, a calligraphist who hand lettered CMA diplomas through the early 1980’s. A nature-lover like her husband, she often painted Lake Maxinkuckee and its surrounding. Toward the end of her life, she was busy creating elaborate paper cutouts. Unlike her husband, who preferred to keep to himself, Jean was heavily involved in town politics. She was a charter member of Culver’s Zoning commission, president of Culver town board, and served on Culver’s Economic Development Committee. She was also a founding member of the Marshall County Community Foundation and designed their logo. After Warner’s death in 1982, Jean remarried and moved to South Bend, where she died in 2006.

According to David, Warner’s love of science and art strongly influenced all the Williams children. David Williams is the Director of The Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester.

“I built my reputation making these little pictures of the eye. My father had this strong interest in vision because he was an artist,” he said.

Earle Williams is an atmospheric physicist at MIT and is nationally known for his research on lightening. Warner’s deceased son Carroll Warner Williams was the co-founder and director of the Anthropology Film Center in New Mexico, which taught film techniques to Native Americans.

According to Carroll’s 2005 obituary, “Carroll's extraordinary ability to repair, customize, and invent just about any kind of device necessary to a filmmaker became local legend.”

Sylvia Williams inherited her father’s artistic talent—she collaborated with Warner on the animal sculpture series. Sylvia is a licensed caricature artist in New Orleans.


David recalled his father’s outspoken counter-cultural views, and the heightened political climate of the 1960’s: “He thought the [Vietnam] war was just a great waste of men.”

Both Warner’s sons noted that he was an inspiration for many Culver Academy cadets. “My father’s art studio was a safe haven with a lot of students at the Academy,” said David.

One such student was renowned actor Hal Holbrook, who once told Earle of Warner Williams’ positive role in his Culver Military Academy experience. Summer resident Julie Hollowell recalled his inspiring teaching style from an art class she took from him one summer: “Warner seemed to believe that everyone was an artist, if one could simply slow down, focus, and tap into an inner sense of seeing.”

In 2012, the White-Devries Rowing Center was erected and adorned with two limestone eagle plaques. The architect was Warner’s former student John Chipman, who commissioned and paid for the plaques in Warner’s honor. They are based on the original bronze medallions Warner made for members of the crew team in 1968. Chipman, a 68’ graduate who owns his own architecture company, credits Warner Williams’ guidance for his success. Warner created a specialized architecture course for Chipman at the Academy.

“He took me aside and said, ‘I really want to design this special curriculum for you.’ I ended up spending a lot of time in his studio working on my projects. He was a mentor to me,” said Chipman, recalling how Warner ordered him a subscription to Architecture Magazine, and counseled him on his college applications. “There [was] really no real recognition of Warner and what he’s done for the Academy. He was a great man who’s under appreciated.”

The original medallion is on display in the alumni room of the Rowing Center.

From his Geodesic Dome Studio

to the custom-made hood ornament that emblazoned his work van, Williams was and remains an inspirational character.

Warner Williams Builds Powerful Telescope Here

Public Is Invited To Study Heavens Next Sunday Evening

Warner Williams, artist in residence in Culver Military Academy, who has worked for 2 1/2 years on a permanently located telescope atop the Music and Arts Building on the Academy campus, has recently completed a light weight portable version of this powerful instrument.

Although smaller in size than the original telescope, Mr. Williams states that the portable version of the telescope will reduce the actual distance of the 240,000 miles between and moon and earth to an apparent distance of 800 miles.

Next Sunday, Sept. 25, the moon will be in its first quarter and will be the ideal time, weather permitting, to view the moon and other objects of interest.

It has occurred to Mr. Williams that Culver area residents will be interested in observing some of the more spectacular celestial phenomena and as a result will have the telescope in the Culver-Union Township school yard. It will be located just north of the school building.

Unfortunately there will be no planets in the sky at that time but some of the familiar objects that can be seen will be: Globular Cluster in Hercules, the Andromeda Nebula, the Ring Nebula in Lyra and Dumbbell Nebula in Cygnus, and a number of double stars.

Mr. Williams extends a cordial invitation to both young and old to come to the school grounds between dusk and 11 p.m. next Sunday for an extraordinary treat. If the weather is bad a later date will be announced in The Citizen.

The photos above, printed here with their original captions, accompanied the Citizen article. Click any photo to view it full-size.

Jeffery P. Kenney

Culver Citizen; various issues.

Antiquarian and Historical Society quarterly

Obituary of Jean Williams Murphy

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