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Artist: Vallabh Namshikar
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Adrian Pearsall

Adrian Pearsall, the famous furniture designer, was born to Adrian and Emma Pearsall on September 18th, 1925 in Trumansburg, NY. He was one of 4 siblings, including his brother Richard Lewis Pearsall; sister Katherine Pearsall Berg; and brother Ralph Pearsall. His courtship with his wife Dorie, is a tale worthy of a romantic novel. In 1942, at the age of 17, he had met his future wife on a train while going to serve on the US Navy, and had promised to meet her after the war was over. True to his word, in October 1950, he went on to marry her in Forty Fort, PA, a place where the family still has a residence.

In the early 1950s, he completed his degree in architectural engineering from University of Illinois. A few years later, however, he changed his career by starting a furniture company called Craft Associates, which would become the stepping stone for his success as one of the best furniture designers of that era. At first, he designed and built furniture, with his wife’s assistance, at his residence in Kingston, PA, and showcased it in the back of his truck; despite that, his pieces were a hit and were bought by all the top furniture retail stores such as Macy's, Wanamaker’s, etc., of the area. Later, his brother, Richard Pearsall, too began working alongside Adrian in Craft Associates. Their hard work paid off, and soon Craft Associates became a household name in New York and Philadelphia. In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the firm hired the likes of Wilkes Barre, famous for designing innovative furniture such as different sized gondola sofas, walnut and glass tables in never seen before shapes, and for making the bean bag chair a cult piece of furniture.

in the 1970s, Adrian cofounded another furniture firm called Comfort Designs with John Graham. A few years down the line, he bid goodbye to furniture designing and decided to follow some of his other passions— that of scouting and restoring old famous yachts, and sailing. While living at his summerhouse, “Uneeda Rest” in Groton Long Point, CT, he maintained a marvellous collection of yachts restored by him that included— 1905, 44ft Herreshoff NY-30, AMORITA; the 50', 1913 P-Class Sloop CHIPS; and the 1924 Herreshoff Watch Hill 15, EMMA. Additionally, he spent many years restoring the famous Fastnet Race record holder, the 72', 1926 HALLOWE'EN.

Not only was Adrian a great artist, but a wonderful human being known for spending both his talent and money on the causes he felt most for, for helping those less fortunate, and for encouraging fellow designers. Standing as an example of his generosity is the premises of the Ulysses Historical Society in Trumansburg, NY which he and his brother funded and designed in 1998.

Many laurels have come his way, including a nomination in 2008 for his inclusion into the American Furniture Hall of Fame which is just a testimony to his talent and passion, but he continued to be a grounded person. He passed away in his sleep at his home in Washington Crossing, PA, on September 6th, 2011. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren who remember him as a loving and dedicated family man.


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Adrian Pearsall

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