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Governor Lee Cruce, 1911-1915

by Leonard D. McMurry

Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature
Dimensions: 25 height
Dedicated 1982

Governor Lee Cruce, 1911-1915 by Leonard D. McMurry

The Artwork

Lee Cruce was born July 8, 1863, near Marion, Kentucky. Although he was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1887, he never practiced until he joined his older brother's law firm in 1891, in Ardmore, Indian Territory. Ten years later he became cashier of the Ardmore National Bank and eventually advanced to be its president. He served as Oklahoma's second Governor from January 9, 1911, to January 11, 1915. In 1930, he was defeated in the primary for the United States Senate. He died January 16, 1933, in Los Angeles, California.

The Artist

Known as Oklahoma’s own “Michelangelo”, Leonard McMurry was born to a family of prominent cotton farmers in the Texas panhandle. McMurry moved to Oklahoma in 1955 and then lived in Stilwell and Oklahoma City. Under the teachings of sculptors Carl Mose and Ivan Mestrovic, McMurry perfected his craft. His magnificent sculptures of Oklahoma icons can be seen across the state including the ‘89er statue on Couch Drive in Oklahoma City and the Praying Hands that grace the lawns of Oral Roberts University.

In accordance with Oklahoma’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1982, Leonard McMurry was commissioned to sculpt busts of 21 past Oklahoma Governors. The Hall of Governors exudes Oklahoman’s pride in her past legislative guardians. Regarding his works, McMurry states, “Each piece must have a soul, a living quality that’s far more important than just physical representation. A piece has to have guts: the strength, power, and dignity, that makes it a monument.” McMurry has accomplished that very feat within the grandiose Hall of Governors in which visitors may come face to face with naturalistic representation of Oklahoma leaders.