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Trooper Model For Rockwell’s ‘Runaway’ Dies

Dick Clemens, right, who posed as the trooper, and Ed Locke, who posed as the boy, stand with Norman Rockwell's "The Runaway" during the 50th anniversary celebration of the painting in 2008 at State Police headquarters. (State Police)

Dick Clemens, right, who posed as the trooper, and Ed Locke, who posed as the boy, stand with Norman Rockwell's "The Runaway" during the 50th anniversary celebration of the painting in 2008 at State Police headquarters. (State Police)

BOSTON — Retired State Police Trooper Dick Clemens, who was the model for the trooper in Norman Rockwell’s 1958 painting “The Runaway,” has passed away. He was 84.

“Clemens greeted everyone in his humble way, with a constant smile, a firm handshake and a warm hello,” State Police said in announcing his death.

In 2008, State Police held a 50th anniversary celebration of the painting. Clemens, State Police said, “got the celebrity treatment” there.

Update at 10:55 a.m.: WBZ-TV reports this historical context:

According to Smithsonian Magazine, Clemens was a neighbor of Rockwell’s in Stockbridge in 1958 when the artist asked the trooper, who was 30 at the time, to pose for the painting at the Howard Johnson’s restaurant in Pittsfield.

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