Former Pike resident donates Native American prints

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 13, 2008

Gerald Furlow has his feet firmly planted in the Lone Star State but the compass dial always turns his heart toward home.

Furlow is originally from the rural community of Henderson and he comes home as often as he can. But, when he’s not able to make the trip, he can close his eyes and be back at the place that he calls home.

“I had planned to go home for a family reunion on Oct. 4, but I wasn’t able to make it,” Furlow said via telephone. “I was sad not to be able to go home but my thoughts were there.”

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Furlow spent his early years in Henderson and served with the Troy National Guard in 1940.

“I met my future wife, Joanne Crawford, before I left to go overseas,” he said. “I was in the service for five years. When I came home, she was waiting for me.”

Furlow’s bride was originally from Oklahoma and had a strong interest in and respect for the Native Americans of the area.

“She also had a real interest in artwork and she would see pictures that she wanted and we would get them,” Furlow said. “Over the years, we got a number of James Bama’s limited edition prints. He was a pretty famous artist who specialized in Native American art.”

Furlow is a Civil War buff and he often found prints of scenes from the War Between the States by Don Troani that he liked enough to fork over the money for them.

“I guess you could say that I bought most of the limited edition prints with my Social Security money,” he said, with a chuckle.

For many years, the Furlows enjoyed the artwork that was close to their hearts.

Joanne Furlow died in 2005, and Furlow realized that the artwork that had meant so much to the two of them should be shared.

“I thought about it a lot and decided that I wanted to do something in memory of my wife,” he said. “We got married on Sept. 13, 1946. The number 13 is supposed to be unlucky but, for me, it was the luckiest day of my life.”

Furlow thought about his wife and how much she had enjoyed the Native American artwork of James Bama.

“I wanted to do something lasting in memory of my wife and I couldn’t think of anything that would please her more than to give those Native American and Civil War prints in memory of her,” he said. “And, I love Troy from the bottom of my heart and I know what a fascinating place the Pioneer Museum of Alabama is so I decided to give the prints to the museum.”

Furlow shipped 17 large, framed prints to the museum with permission to sell the ones that the museum could not hang and put the money to good use.

Jerry Peak, museum director, said the prints are all high quality artwork and the museum is very appreciative of the donation.

“The Civil War prints will be used to enhance that area of the museum but we will probably sell most of the Native American prints,” he said. “They are of Western Indians, not the Woodland Indians that were native to our area. But for the next couple of weeks, we’ll have all 17 of Mr. Furlow’s prints on display. Larry Godwin let us borrow hanging screens and the prints are all up and ready for viewing.”

The Civil War prints will hang permanently in memory of Joanne Crawford Furlow.

Everyone is invited to visit the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and the Furlow exhibit.

Anyone interested in purchasing one of the limited edition prints may inquire at the museum or by calling 566-3597.