Musician’s legacy plays on
During his lifetime, Richard Pearman brought music to the local community. He played his trusty fiddle with the Moonlight Ramblers and entertained residents of local nursing homes for 50 years.
Now, even in death, Pearman will continue to bring music to Iola.
Pearman died in 2016, just shy of his 99th birthday, and left a memorial fund to benefit the Bowlus Fine Arts Center and Allen Community College Endowment Association.
The Bowlus will establish a trust in his name to bring country and gospel music concerts, starting next season. The gift was announced earlier this week by Daniel Kays, executive director at the Bowlus.
“A lover of country and gospel music, Richard Pearman and his wife Agnes designated the Bowlus a generous gift to bring more music to future generations of Allen County,” Kays said.
Richard Pearman Excerpted from the Chronicles of Allen County: 1945-2000.
PEARMAN began playing music at the age of 10, according to Register archives. He was born in Missouri and his family moved to a farm east of Humboldt.
He taught himself to play the fiddle at age 10, using his father’s old fiddle. His father came from a very religious family and had to hide his fiddle in a hollow log in the country.
“They said the devil was in the fiddle,” Pearman told the Register.
His father’s fiddle had suffered quite a bit of wear and tear — perhaps from being stashed in a log again and again.
So Pearman learned to restore instruments, something he continued to do in his spare time. He was known for repairing Iola High School band instruments, as well as for others across the region.
Despite his affinity for music, Pearman never learned to read music. At one point, he claimed to own over 26 instruments.
He earned numerous trophies for his music, but didn’t like to brag about the awards. He was named Missouri State Fiddle Champion at one point.
He married Agnes McIntyre of Humboldt in 1938 and they moved to Iola in 1948. They hauled milk for 14 years before he became a drywall and painting contractor. Agnes died in 2010.
The couple never had children. Pearman taught music to a nephew, Mark Pearman, who became an accomplished musician in his own right.
PEARMAN was known for playing at nursing homes, something he did until a couple of years before his death. Register archives show numerous reports of his performances and the delight they brought to residents.
He also was part of a musicians union and helped with Meals on Wheels. He was president of the Blue Mound Old-time Fiddlers Pickers and Singers for 27 years, and was a member of the Iola group.
Fiddle player Richard Pearman, who died in 2016, left a trust to benefit the Bowlus Fine Arts Center and Allen Community College Endowment Association. FILE PHOTO
THE MEMORIAL left $228,684.62 to the Bowlus, with an equal amount to the ACC Endowment Association. The money was invested before it was turned over to the two entities, giving another $6,679.72 in earned interest to the Bowlus.
The Bowlus will use the $228,000 to establish the Richard A. and Agnes F. Pearman Trust, and will use the interest funds to bring a performance to the center next year. In the future, interest earned from the trust will be used to fund country and western, bluegrass or gospel music performances to the Bowlus.
“The Bowlus is very grateful to the Pearmans and we look forward to honoring their gift,” Kays said.