Iconic furniture designer Adrian M. Pearsall dies at 85

Gary Evans, September 7, 2011

FORTY FORT, Pa. — Adrian Mount Pearsall, a former American Furniture Hall of Fame nominee known for his iconic mid-century furniture designs, has died at 85.

Trained as an architectural engineer, he left that field two years after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1950 to found Craft Associates, where he became one of the country's most prominent furniture designers during the mid-century "Atomic Age" style.

 Image of Adrian PearsallAdrian Pearsall

With the help of his wife, Dorie, he began building furniture in the basement of their Kingston, Pa., home, and selling pieces from the back of their truck to Macy's, Wanamaker's and other New York and Philadelphia department stores. Craft Associates, which included Pearsall's brother, Richard, became one of Wilkes Barre, Pa.'s top employers in the 1950s and 1960s.

Pearsall is credited with the creation of long and low gondola sofas and free-form walnut and glass tables, and the popularization of the beanbag chair. He was nominated to the Furniture Hall of Fame in 2008.

After selling Craft to Lane in the late 1960s, Pearsall went on to launch Comfort Designs with partner John Graham, transitioning from the Atomic Age into the comfort look of the 1970s and 1980s.

Pearsall eventually left the furniture business and pursued his passion for classic yacht restoration. He also was a philanthropist for both large and small causes.

Survivors include his wife, his brother, two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Assn. at www.LBDA.org or the SPCA of Luzerne County www.SPCALuzernecounty.org.

Viewing services will be Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Church of Christ Uniting, Kingston, Pa.

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