HUMBOLDT — Harvey Peck, whose murals adorn the walls in governmental buildings, area churches and even a local restaurant, is being remembered after his death Saturday at the age of 95.
Peck worked as a commercial artist after a 26-year career in the U.S. Navy that spanned from World War II to the Vietnam era. His artistic talent was evident well before then, noted Mike Myer, an unabashed fan of Peck’s work.
Myer noted Peck painted the noses of WWII bombers while he was in the service.
A few years back, Myer canvassed Humboldt to get photos of Peck’s artistry — “everything I could find,” he said.
Perhaps Peck’s most noteworthy piece is a panoramic view of a young boy fishing in a river, which carries a bit of history in its own right, Myer noted.
The story goes that Peck was painting the mural as a landscape when then-mayor Tom Rutledge walked in and suggested the scene needed a person.
So Peck did as suggested, adding the boy (with Rutledge’s red hair) in honor of the mayor.
Other noteworthy pieces include Peck’s painting of Noah’s Ark, which is found in the Humboldt Methodist Church. The old Seven-Arch Bridge can be seen at Estrellita’s Restaurant in downtown Humboldt. Even Humboldt’s City Hall has Peck’s work on display, a collage of iconic Humboldt settings, from the downtown square gazebo, the Marsh Arch Bridge west of town, a Civil War cannon and a picture of Jesus carrying the cross.
Another painting shows Jesus in prayer, and is at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
Even Humboldt’s water treatment facility has a Peck painting.
Funeral services for Peck are Friday at Humboldt United Methodist Church, with burial to follow at the Utica, Mo., Cemetery.