Ken “The Dauber” Pridgeon calls himself the poor man’s Norman Rockwell, yet one look at his work and you know his talent is priceless.
“I was always in trouble at school. While everyone else was doing their algebra lessons, I was drawing—the bird on the windowsill, the tree out in the school yard…back then it was a terrible thing to draw a nude, but I drew one and showed it to Marie Hendry—I’ll never forget her name—she held it up and the teacher could see it through the paper and freaked out. I was sent to the principal’s office. It was Dr. Basnar at the time and he said, ‘Ken, you wouldn’t want your daddy to see this would you?’ I said ‘No sir.’ So he offered me a deal. He said, ‘You’re making C’s and D’s. If you bring up your grades to A’s and B’s, we’ll handle this ourselves.’ So I started making better grades, realized it was something I could do and kept on going,” Pridgeon said
PHOTO: Striking his trademark pose, Ken ‘The Dauber’ Pridgeon is a man on a mission to paint the portraits of all the fallen servicemen and women who have been killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has already painted more than 100 portraits of soldiers from Texas and they are displayed in a downtown gallery in Baytown (Texas). The Perry native graduated from TCHS in 1953 and immediately entered the service. “My good friend Charles Broome was killed in Korea and I got mad, so I joined the service.”