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Eugene T. Pelham Jr.

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ARLINGTON -- Gene Pelham, of Arlington, a noted Vermont artist of the Rockwell era, died at age 95 on Saturday morning at Central Vermont Hospital in Berlin.

Mr. Pelham was born Eugene Thomas Pelham Jr. in New York City on Oct. 16, 1909 to Eugene Thomas Pelham and Victoria (Strittmater) Pelham. Prior to moving to West Arlington in 1939, Mr. Pelham studied at the Grand Central School of Art and the National Academy of Design. Upon graduation, he was commissioned by the city of New York to design and paint murals for exhibition buildings at the 1939 World’s Fair.

Upon moving to Vermont, Mr. Pelham continued his career as an artist. From 1940 to 1954, he produced his own work, was Norman Rockwell’s studio photographer during Rockwell’s Arlington period, operated a small family farm and raised a family. In 1942 and 1943, Mr. Pelham’s work was published on the covers of a number of issues of the Saturday Evening Post and other noted magazines. Subsequently, he continued his painting career and created The Guide, now known as the Vermont News Guide.

Mr. Pelham’s paintings, mostly in oils, captured Vermont’s special blend of natural beauty and early New England rural life style. Passive scenes, Vermont mills, barns and covered bridges, rivers, maple sugaring houses and fall foliage vistas were portrayed in original character and nuances of color.

He exhibited at the Southern Vermont Art Center where he was a past member of the board of trustees. He also exhibited at the High Museum in Atlanta, the J. L. Hudson Gallery in Detroit, the Camelback Gallery in Tucson, the Vose Gallery in Boston and the Capricorn Gallery in Bethesda, Md., among others. His works were reproduced and distributed worldwide by the New York Graphic Society and the Arthur Kaplan Co. The American Artists Group used many of his works for Christmas cards.

His wife, Katherine Barling Pelham, and his sister, Beartrice Morgan, predeceased Mr. Pelham. He leaves four children: Anne Pelham of Raleigh, N.C., Melinda Murphy of Atkinson, N.H., Tom Pelham of Montpelier and Muriel Smith of Rutland. He also leaves seven grandchildren including Alison Glass of Boston; Meridith Schwartz of Kingwood, N.J.; Wendy Glass of Hauula, Hawaii; Nathaniel Murphy of Oakland, Calif.; Gillian Murphy of Burlington; and Rachel Pelham and Rebecca Pelham of Montpelier. Mr. Pelham also has two great-grandchildren, Ayla and Talia Schwartz of Kingwood, N.J.

A reception for family and friends will be held at the Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home in Arlington from 1 to 3 p. m. on Saturday, Nov. 13. The funeral service will follow at 3 p.m. with the Rev. Bradford Clark, pastor of St. James Episcopal Church, officiating. Burial will follow in the family lot in Evergreen Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Southern Vermont Art Center, the Arlington Rescue Squad or St. James Episcopal Church in care of the Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 528, Arlington, VT 05250.

To send condolences to the family of Mr. Gene Pelham please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
Published in Bennington Banner from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, 2004
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