Temple: Sculpture garden to feature local doctor's work

Photo by Megan Vanselow
Photo by Megan Vanselow(KWTX)
Published: Jan. 17, 2020 at 1:37 AM CST
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The work of Robert Rynearson, a local doctor who started the psychiatric department at Baylor Scott & White, will soon be displayed in a sculpture garden dedicated to his art work.

Rynearson was a psychiatrist by trade, and founded the Mental Health Clinic at Baylor Scott and White Temple, but in his free time he pursued a passion in art.

He learned to carve at a young age, using bars of soap, and worked his way up to large pieces on limestone and marble which he had shipped to Temple from Italy.

"All the marble he got was from Italy, it was Carrara marble, the same quarry where Michael Angelo got all of his stone," his son, Bob Rynearson said.

Bob Rynearson remembers seeing his dad spend countless weekends outside creating the sculptures while listening to classical music, and often covered in white marble dust.

Now, the Rynearson home has nearly 50 sculptures made by Robert, in the backyard, but by the end of next week the city of Temple will move the dozen they've selected for the garden to be power washed and apply an anti-graffiti coating.

The garden will open next month, off the Friar’s Creek Extension Trail behind Temple College, so people traveling from the VA hospital can take the trail to Baylor Scott and White and see the sculptures on the trail near the Mental Health Clinic.

"He loved having people come over and take a tour with or without him but he loved showing off his work so I think to have these displayed in a public setting would make him very happy," Bob said.

"Robert Rynearson, medical doctor, will live on for centuries because of his sculptures," friend, Gary Gosney said.

Many of Rynearson's sculptures are inspired by people in his family, like his wife, or daughter-in-law and granddaughter, while others, his son says, were inspired by the stone itself.

"He would tell me all about what he was trying to express in the sculpture and what he was trying to bring forth and hopefully that people would look at it, if they didn’t see what he saw they would see something that they saw," Gosney said.

Rynearson's wife is also prominently known in Central Texas, for founding the Temple Civic Theatre.

The couple moved to the area in the 60s when he had the opportunity to start the psychiatric program at the hospital.

Prior to moving to Temple, Rynearson worked at the Mayo Clinic, at the same time Ernest Hemingway was being treated there.

While Rynearson did not treat Hemingway, the writer stayed at their home and became close friends with he and his wife, gifting them several signed copies of his books.