CASTINE, Maine -- Clark Battle Fitz-Gerald, a sculptor who moved to Maine in 1956 to find artistic inspiration in the quiet and simplicity of small-town life, died Monday at his home. He was 87.
Mr. Fitz-Gerald, who had been in declining health for months, was renowned as a sculptor of public art pieces in prominent cities, churches, and universities. He was planning new works until his death.
Mr. Fitz-Gerald was born in St. Louis. He attended John Burroughs School and graduated from Philadelphia College of Art in 1940. He served in the Army from 1940 to 1945, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and the advance on Berlin.
His wartime correspondence amounted to hundreds of cartoons and graphics that allowed him to bypass Army censors. After the war, Mr. Fitz-Gerald taught at Phillips Academy, Washington University in St. Louis, and Beloit College.
In 1956 Mr. Fitz-Gerald left teaching and moved to Castine to devote himself to sculpture. For the rest of his life, he had no institutional backing or regular paycheck, but he supported his family through his art.
In more than 1,000 commissioned works, Mr. Fitz-Gerald looked to the natural world to draw inspiration from natural structures of seeds and spores, sinewy kelp fronds, or whale vertebrae for large works in wood or bronze. ''Nature is my greatest source of ideas," he once said.
Mr. Fitz-Gerald was awarded numerous prizes and honors. For the Maine Maritime Academy, he made an honorary mace used at the 2000 commencement.
Maine Maritime Academy, George Stevens Academy, Colby College, and the University of Maine all have Mr. Fitz-Gerald's works on their campuses.
''Continuity of Community," an enormous aluminum mobius in Bangor, is one of Mr. Fitz-Gerald's most notable works and typical of his work's prevailing themes.
He leaves his wife, Elizabeth; and his children with his first wife, Leah, Timothy, and Stephen.