PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — In life, Barry Golderwater always seemed larger than life. The same can be said in death.
In 2004, Paradise Valley, Goldwater’s hometown, unveiled a statue of its most famous resident. Sculpted by Arizona artist Joe Beeler, the statue stands one-and-a-half times taller than Goldwater did in life.
Located on a busy corner in the heart of Paradize Valley, Goldwater’s likeness stands in the shadow of his former home. The monument is surrounded by neatly landscaped terrain featuring a plethora of local flora.
“The reason I portrayed him this way is because this is the way I see him — as an Arizonan, a Westerner, in Levi’s jeans, boots and a camera,” The Daily Courier newspaper quoted Beeler, who was also a friend of Goldwater, as saying in 2003.“He was more of an artist than he was a politician.”
Known as “Mr. Conservative,” Goldwater served five terms in the U.S. Senate and was the Republican nominee for president in 1964. An avid ham radio operator, Goldwater is perhaps best remembered for helping rekindle the conservative movement during the 1960s, publishing the acclaimed “The Conscience of a Conservative” in 1960.
In 1974, he convinced President Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
Goldwater, who was born three years before Arizona was admitted as a state into the Union, died in May 1998 at the age of 89. His ashes are interred at the nearby Episcopal Christ Church of the Ascension, also located in Paradise Valley.
“America, the only nation ever founded in the name of liberty, never had a more ardent champion of liberty than Barry Goldwater,” CBS News quoted John McCain, Goldwater’s successor in the U.S. Senate, as saying in 1998. “Simply put, Barry Goldwater was in love with freedom.”
Sandra Day O’Connor, then associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, led the statue’s dedication on Feb. 14, 2004, which was coincidentally Statehood Day in Arizona. F-16s from nearby Luke Air Force Base provided a flyover during the ceremony.
The Goldwater Memorial is at the intersection of Tatum Boulevard and Lincoln Drive.