Michael Calhoun and Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)–  An autopsy performed Tuesday morning has provided a preliminary cause of death for renowned local artist Bob Cassilly.

He was found slumped behind the controls of a bulldozer that apparently rolled down a hill at the site of Cassilly’s “Cementland” project in north city early Monday.

Preliminary results show that Cassilly died from “multiple injuries, including a severe head injury”.

A completed report won’t be out for another 4-to-6 weeks.


Those who knew him say Bob Cassilly liked to take risks — in life and art.

Cassilly, 61, was found dead behind the controls of his bulldozer, which may have rolled down a hill, at his “Cementland” amusement park, which is under construction in north St. Louis.

He was known for a number of St. Louis-area art projects, including Turtle Park near the St. Louis Zoo, but was best known as creator of the interactive City Museum downtown, which opened in 1997.

Former Riverfront Times reporter D.J. Wilson remembers Cassilly’s school bus, teetering on the edge, on top of the City Museum.

“He got me on top of the roof and we sat in the front of that bus,” Wilson said. “The bus door was open and you looked out the bus door and there was nothing but air between you and the sidewalk.”

Post-Dispatch photographer J.B. Forbes shares a similar memory.

“He wanted to pose on top of the water towers, on top of the building. They’re huge structures, and then there’s a ball on top of that. He said ‘be ready,’ and then climbed to the top, and then stood on the ball and lifted one leg,” Forbes recalls.

“He was that kind of a guy,” said Forbes. “He took risks, and he said life wasn’t worth living without taking risks.”

“I thought for sure I was going to have the last picture of Bob.”

cementslide1 UPDATE: Preliminary Autopsy Results for Bob Cassilly

Photo: Dilip Vishwanat for The New York Times

Cassilly helped breathe life into a stagnant St. Louis, said those at a Facebook-organized candlelight vigil last night outside of his City Museum, as employees mourned inside.

“People from all around the world visit St. Louis and see us in this light and really respect our history, because of this playground,” Michael Powers said. “This playground teaches them that we have such an amazing past, that we’re so rich in architectural history.”

Powers said Cassilly inspired an army who’ll follow in his footsteps.

“He has made every other post-industrial city in the country, and possibly anybody else with a similar history to us around the world, look to St. Louis for inspiration and ideas.”

Mourners brought flowers, and said they’d like to see the museum’s dragon-shaped fence filled with flowers in the coming days.

An autopsy is planned to determine the exact cause of death.

Copyright KMOX Radio


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Listen Live