West Channel artist Phillip Harris, better known as ‘Dutch’, has died.
Harris’ body was found on May 4, but the date of his death is as yet unknown.
The case is under investigation by the RCMP and the NWT Coroner’s Office, but neither suspects foul play.
Cathy Menard, the chief coroner of the NWT, said Harris’ body was transferred to Edmonton for a post-mortem examination, the results of which should be available in four to six months.
Harris, who was in his mid-60s, was best known for his artistic work with concrete.
Starting with paving stones and the odd angel, he moved on to bigger and more intricate pieces of art that could weather the northern climate.
His garden in the West Channel area of Hay River is filled with a variety of art made out of concrete.
In 2009, he turned his hobby of ornamental concrete into a part-time, home-based business called West Channel Statuary.
“One thing you can say about Dutch was that he was a perfectionist in everything he did,” said Robert Dean, a former employer. “Even in his hobbies, he was a perfectionist. He built a greenhouse in the West Channel and you can bet that was the best built greenhouse around.”
Dean, formerly of the Hay River construction company Stan Dean & Sons Ltd., said Harris worked for him for 15 or 20 years.
“But he kept to himself to a certain degree,” Dean said of Harris. “He was a very private person.”
— Sarah Ladik