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Friday, September 9, 2011

Adrian Mount Pearsall (1925-2011)

Adrian Pearsall
Adrian Mount Pearsall, 85, renowned furniture designer, yachtsman and philanthropist, passed away Tuesday, September 6, 2011. His loving wife of 61 years, Dorie Kanarr Pearsall, and daughter Dr. Cindy Pearsall Sussman, were at his bedside as he departed peacefully in his sleep.

Born September 18, 1925, in Trumansburg, NY., Pearsall was a son of the late Adrian O. and Gladys Mount Pearsall. He was raised by his beloved step-mother Emma Booth Pearsall from the age of five. 

He met his wife, Dorie, in 1942 aboard a train from Ithaca, N.Y., to Wilkes-Barre while en route to serve in the U.S. Navy at age 17. He promised Dorie he would return to see her following the war. The promise was kept, and they were married October of 1950 in Forty Fort where the Pearsall family still maintains a home.

Following the war, Adrian graduated from the University of Illinois, class of 1950, with a degree in architectural engineering. He left the architectural field after two years to found Craft Associates, which became one of the country's most prominent furniture designers during the mid-century "Atomic Age." 

With the help of his wife Dorie, he began building furniture in the basement of their Kingston home and sold pieces from the back of their truck to prominent New York and Philadelphia department stores. Joined by his brother, Richard, Craft Associates went on to become one of Wilkes-Barre's top employers in the 1950s and 1960s. Known for his daring designs which brought high style to the masses, he is credited with the creation of long and low gondola sofas, free-form walnut and glass tables, and the popularization of the venerable bean bag chair. As an industry testament to his achievements, Pearsall was nominated for inclusion into the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 2008. 

After launching a new company Comfort Designs in the 1970s with business partner John Graham, Pearsall  eventually left the furniture business but never really retired. His passion for preservation and meticulous craftsmanship led him to the hobby of classic yacht restoration where he is credited with rescuing and personally restoring several treasured vessels including the now famous 1905 44-foot Herreshoff NY-30 AMORITA, the 50-foot1913 P-Class Sloop CHIPS and the 72-foot1924 William Fife-designed HALLOWE'EN. 

All who knew Pearsall knew he was forever humble about his accomplishments and endlessly generous with his successes. A philanthropist for causes large and small, he was private about his contributions. In 1998, he most notably personally designed and with his brother Richard funded a new home for the Ulysses Historical Society which was based in Trumansburg, NY. 

For many he was an inspiration for hard work and generosity. He was always ready to lend a hand to those with a need and those with a dream. To many he was both a hero and a role model, but to his family he was first and foremost a loving and caring husband and father. 

Preceding Pearsall in death, in addition to his parents and step-mother, were his sister, Katherine Pearsall Berg, formerly of Newark, DE, and infant brother, Ralph Pearsall. Surviving are his wife, the former Dorie Kanarr; children, Adrian James Pearsall and his wife, Shauna; Dr. Cindy Pearsall Sussman and her husband, Steve, and Jed Pearsall and his partner, Bill Doyle; his five grandchildren, Ross, Stuart and Hilary Pearsall, Laura and Brian Sussman; a brother, Richard Pearsall and his wife, Marion. 

Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in Church of Christ Uniting, corner of Market Street and Sprague Avenue, Kingston, with the Rev. Dr. Carol Ann Fleming officiating. Interment will be made in Forty Fort Cemetery, Forty Fort. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Harold C. Snowdon Funeral Home Inc., 140 N. Main St., Shavertown. Memorial gifts in honor of Adrian will be gratefully accepted by the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA.ORG) LDBA, 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W., Lilburn, GA. 30047; or the S.P.C.A. of Luzerne County (, 524 E. Main St., Fox Hill Road, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.



  1. one thing about him is that he went to the same university as I that he was a few years my senior ..jokes apart, i love his work and could never give up my crush for his sofa

  2. and yes, i did see the news about his death...great designers can never be replaced (dint mean to hurt any sentiments with my joke though)

  3. @Sudha: He was my mother's he was even a few years MY senior. From everything I've ever read about him, he had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh, so I don't think he (or any of his family) would be offended by what you said. I'll forever be in love with his gondola sofa too. Now I wish I had bought the one we had at our store.

  4. I'm proud to own a few pieces designed by Mr. Pearsall and am saddened by all our loss. My kind of entrepreneur. Great design for all and out of the back of his truck!

  5. oh no. :( so sad he is my favorite american MCM designer. RIP

  6. @stacey: He was one of my favorites too. He will be missed by many.