Vernon Pries was a true treasure

On Oct. 27, Marshalltown lost one of its most dedicated art benefactors – Vernon Pries. You won’t find his name on any community building, nor will you find it on any arts and culture venue. He recognize his name as he served as your local insurance agent for many years. But, he was also an accomplished artist and woodworker. He had served as a board member and then treasurer of the Central Iowa Art Association for many years. His dedication was demonstrated in the last few years that the CIAA hosted the summer art fair. He single-handedly corralled his insurance agent friends and associates to put together the financial support for the event. In his free time, he provided for the local association by creating the shelving for canvas storage, also built the uprights for canvas storage for artists, and the shelving in the storage room. Besides that, he provided the bookshelves to house the association’s lending library of art books and the furnishings for the association’s office. And nearly up to his death, he hosted the guest book at local CIAA art exhibitions.

But more than that, he was concerned with the continuation of the local art association in an age when people didn’t want to be bothered to volunteer during their free time or even be interested in taking classes. He often stopped into the office and related stories of his life – from the farm days, to his early working career, his Korean War days and his battle with the devastating disease that would eventually take his life. We joked the last time we visited about his consumption of ice cream on a daily basis to combat his lack of appetite.

Besides being a wonderful advocate for the association; he was my friend. I will miss the mild mannered, gentle man who cared about his art and the association for which he gave so much.