FILE – In this May 25, 2004 file photo, visitors at The Norman Rockwell Museum view the 1958 painting “The Runaway,” in one of the galleries in Stockbridge, Mass. Retired Massachusetts state trooper Staff Sgt. Richard Clemens, who was the model for the police officer in the painting, died Sunday, May 6, 2012. He was 83. (AP Photo/Nancy Palmieri, File)
BOSTON (AP) — A retired Massachusetts state trooper who was a model for Norman Rockwell’s 1958 Saturday Evening Post illustration, “The Runaway,” has died.
Massachusetts State Police said 83-year-old retired Staff Sgt. Richard Clemens Jr. died Sunday after a brief illness.
Rockwell, Clemens’ neighbor in the Berkshires town of Stockbridge, asked the trooper to pose for the illustration along with a local 8-year-old boy, Ed Locke. The work shows a trooper in a diner counseling a boy with a knapsack. State police reunited Clemens and Locke for a 50th anniversary celebration in 2008.
Police Col. Marian McGovern said the image shows “the highest ideal of police work: helping someone in need at a vulnerable moment.”
Clemens lived in New York state in recent years. His funeral will be Friday in Clifton Park, N.Y.