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Carl Hess -- a Vermonter whose face was familiar...

WEST ARLINGTON, Vt. -- Carl Hess -- a Vermonter whose face was familiar to millions of Americans as a symbol of freedom of speech -- has died at the age of 76.

A self-employed mechanic who operated a service station for more than 40 years, Hess was immortalized by Norman Rockwell in 1943 when he was used as a model for a Rockwell painting titled, 'Freedom of Speech.'

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The painting was part of Rockwell's wartime 'Four Freedoms' series.

In addition, Hess -- one of a number of local people used by Rockwell as models between 1939-1952 -- subsequently appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in a Rockwell painting of two men playing checkers.

Hess died Sunday.

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