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 Buckett Pendley  (1936 - )

About: Buckett Pendley
 

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Lived/Active: Indiana/Illinois      Known for: decorator, landscape, portrait, horses

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Ad Code: 4
Buckett Pendley
An example of work by Buckett Pendley
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Trent Pendley, submitted August 18, 2002:


Buckett Pendley's pedigree is so deeply rooted to the early American colonies and so many chapters of the history of these United States that Buckett often says "She is more American than apple pie!"  Buckett descends from a mother with a colonial American background, and a father whose four grandparents were all natives of England.  The artist was named, Bertha Ellen, after an English Lady, her father's auntie Bertha Sanderson Perkins, who had visited the Indiana Dunes country in 1935 and when touring the United States.  Our artist has never been fond of her name Bertha.  As a child she was appalled with the eastern European pronunciation 'Berta' that was too common among the immigrant society of northwestern Indiana and seniors who inhabited the neighborhood of her early days.  Luckily an older brother's nomenclature of "Buckett" quickly caught on when this artist was just a toddler and the name has stuck.  Buckett's given name unknown to most has been closely guarded by the family to respect her wishes, and only appears on legal documents. Nevertheless a WZVN-FM morning radio program broadcasted in northwest Indiana on August 18, 1996 titillated listeners about the origins of Buckett's nickname.

Buckett was born on August 11, 1936 at Saint Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago, Indiana.  She was the last of four children born to George S. W. Lewry and Marie Lisle Lewry.  Buckett's mother, a graduate of Valparaiso University had come to Indiana in 1914 from Lima, Ohio.  Following Marie Lisle's academic studies she had been offered a teaching position in a rural school in the dunes area.  While working near Furnessville and boarding with a local family, during the school week, Marie had met her future husband.  Buckett's father was a grandson of the Furnessville Lewry's and of a family that had come to the Indiana Dunes Country in 1858 from Chicago and earlier from Brighton, England.  George Lewry (1894-1938) was a well-known personality in the Calumet Region.  He had been a leader in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Worker's Local 210 and wrote the Voice of Labor column for The Hammond Times newspaper.  He also hosted a radio program on WCFL's 'Voice of Labor' in nearby Chicago.  Buckett has no recollection of her progressive father as he died from the results of an industrial explosion in 1938 when she was only age seventeen months.

Marie Lewry distraught over the loss of her husband and left with four children, the oldest a son suffering from asthma and boarded with a family far away in Arizona, made young Buckett her pet.  The young fatherless child was given her every want and when it became apparent that Buckett had artistic talents those had been encouraged.  Buckett's frequent travels with her mother to visit her brother in the American Southwest aboard the Santa Fe's luxurious 'Super Chief' train exposed her to Native Americans.  One of her earliest works was carving a sketch of a battle between cowboys and Indians into the cherry wood headboard of her mother's colonial bed.

Buckett lived along Chestnut Street in the Saxony area of Hammond, Indiana, a south side neighborhood that was considered rural and isolated prior to WWII. Her childhood neighborhood consisted of a melting pot of ethnics from Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, refugees from the genocide of Armenians in Turkey as well as a hub of French and English colonials represented by her parents and others.  During this time Saxony was also an equestrian area and here our artist commenced her longtime admiration for horses.  At the neighboring Woodrow Wilson Elementary School Buckett's artistic talents were acknowledged as so advanced that her art teachers allowed her to study independently.  Her creative exuberance wasn't respected by the other academics in the school and young Buckett spent much of her time isolated from the class and penalized to sitting alone in the hall.  The fatherless child also often skipped class in the afternoon in order to spend time with her mom before the widow Marie Lewry went to work on a regular three-to-eleven shift.

The local newspaper The Hammond Times first publicized Buckett's talents when reporting on art students at Irving Junior High School in 1948.  Shortly thereafter Goldblatts, in downtown Hammond the largest department store in the state, allowed Buckett to decorate some of their famous store windows, gaining her more recognition in the local papers.

Buckett chose to attend the newly opened Hammond Technical High School in 1951, a post war structure that had crisp facilities and over the aging but more prestigious Hammond High School.  Marie Lewry's attempts to enroll Buckett at the School of the Chicago Art Institute were turned down due to her young age.  Buckett received her High School Diploma in 1954, and by that time she was already engaged to Mickey E. Pendley.  They were married two days after Buckett's 18th birthday that August, and have been married for as many years.

Buckett's artistic talents were tabled during the time she raised her two sons, Trent born in 1957 and Brett born in 1959.  However, she began studying with the artist Mabel McCarthy in the early 1960's.  Her oils on canvas of realist landscapes, horses and Middle Eastern themes and portraits, were exhibited at the Minas Salon Show and at other local art shows.  Buckett's most prolific years were during this time and when her children were attending the same elementary school that she had attended two decades prior.  Buckett's sons attended class in a newer post WWII building that her mother had been asked to lay the cornerstone, and honoring the Lewry's struggles as a PTA activists to have the state-of-the-art structure built. This Woodrow Wilson Elementary School is the setting in Lee Zacharias' 1981 novel Lessons.

It was during the mid 1960's that Buckett had been hired to decorate the large display windows of Verek's Furniture Store in the Hessville neighborhood, an area that had been the inspiration for Jean Shepherds' novels and the motion picture A Christmas Story.  Buckett's innovated design created a "T'was the Night Before Christmas" theme, and each window portrayed various portions of the seasonal classic.  Some of the store windows had life-size displays with mannequins with real furniture as props and others showcased the holiday poem in miniature.

The Hammond Times again portrayed Buckett and her oil paintings when doing a story on her Saxony home appointed with colonial fixtures.  The family moved shortly after the publication of that article in September 1967 and after building a new residence in Crown Point, the seat of Lake County.  The new family home, constructed on a ten-acre parcel in the Valparaiso moraine was named Walnut Hill and for an abundance of black walnut trees that covered a prominent hillside.  The new house was equipped with a spacious art studio and Buckett commenced to paint on larger canvases.  The multi-talented artist remained in demand by business acquaintances and especially builders for consultations for interior and exterior design.

However, her constant consultation with an area builder eventually led to Buckett's real estate interests.  A portrait commission of a local Lebanese merchant's deceased mother paid for her Real Estate course and a career at which she has been prominently engaged in for over a quarter of a century.  By 1976 she had founded Buckett, Incorporated, and had orchestrated the build of a block of homes along Shorewood Drive in Valparaiso that was designed to reflect various styles of American architecture from a colonial saltbox to a colonnaded antebellum and various crafts chalets.  In spite of a rigorous schedule of selling real estate and building new homes, Buckett on occasion still found time for her passion of painting and taking classes with local university art professors and private lessons with area artists namely Gerri Grovert and Fred Holley.  Although her works have numbered among a number of private collections and the Grossman collections at LaRabida Hospital in Chicago, Buckett's own American Dream Realty offices established in 1987 near the historic town square in Crown Point has been where she prominently portrays her works not kept at Walnut Hill.

Buckett is known as a hard-working, savvy businesswoman, an artist with a keen imagination, accomplished and respected.  Considered a hallmark of the community the Mayor of Crown Point Indiana, James Metros, acknowledged Buckett for all her accomplishments with a proclamation on October 14, 1997, celebrating her twenty-five years in business and U.S. President, Bill Clinton, sent congratulations from the White House.  The same day the Greater Crown Point Chamber of Commerce also acknowledged the flamboyant and animated artsy Realtor with a special ribbon cutting at her gentrified offices, a 1907 Victorian on North Main Street.  Three years later, the Crown Point Garden Club acknowledged Buckett's beds of blooming flowers as an awarded site.  She had purchased what had for years been a neglected eye sore dwelling near the historic town square but Buckett's renovations and manicured gardens had turned the old residence into a bustling Main Street landmark.

Buckett's offices have not only entertained her clients to real estate transactions but to collections of vintage crystal chandeliers and an impressive collection of leaded and stained glass windows.  In 1999 David Rogers, a prodigy of the Wyeth-Hurd dynasty of American painters, portrayed Buckett against one of her regal windows for her 45th Wedding anniversary.  For the unveiling of her portrait, Buckett's offices hosted a one-day exhibition of David Rogers works on loan from the family gallery, and the artist entertained scores of guests at a high tea with stories about his famous relatives and their friends, the crème del la crème of the American arts.

Four other oil paintings by David Rogers, the grandson of Henrietta Wyeth and Peter Hurd and the Great Grandson of N.C. Wyeth, were commissioned by Buckett of local landmarks including Lewry House Surreal of her great grandfather's brick home, the oldest surviving residence in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore area and a setting in the late Edwin Way Teale's 1943 autobiography Dune Boy: the early years of a naturalist.  The latest portrait is  Indiana Dunes Beach Picnic featuring Buckett, the late Marie Lewry and Mrs. Pendleys two young children.  Another commission by David Rogers Faces in Time, a cubist oil on canvas of the 1878 Lake County Courthouse with four cameos of the historic towns' many famous and infamous visitors: Susan B. Anthony, Rudolph Valentino, Tom Mix and John Dillinger.  A panel of judges selected the naming of this painting after Buckett invited the community to offer their suggestions to name the important work and a local eight-year-old elementary school student's entry was chosen.  Rogers' The House on the Hill is to be used for the forthcoming dust cover of a novel that had originally scandalized Crown Point in 1930 and an all but forgotten story that Buckett's offices have revived an interest and are having republished.

Buckett is a member of the Northern Indiana Arts Association.  The Indiana Historical Society's 'Women's History Archives' contains papers on Mrs. Pendley. Buckett's biography was portrayed in Lake County Heritage, Stephen A. Yaros, Jr. editor, Curtis Media Corp. 1990.

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