One of Horace Raper’s last wishes was to have one of his sculptures placed in a garden at Regional Medical Oncology Center.
On Friday, Dawn Pasquarelli, Raper’s daughter, was able to fulfill that request.
“Today is actually the one-year anniversary of his passing, so we were honored to do this today,” said Pasquarell, of Clayton.
Horace Raper, born and raised on a farm in Wilson County, died last year at age 79. Raper was a widely known artist here and once chaired the Wilson Active Artists Association.
Raper made the sculpture, entitled “Eye of the Tiger,” out of granite.
“That is cool, very abstract,” said Dr. Keith Lerro, physician at Regional Medical Oncology Center, upon laying eyes on the piece, which will be located in the protected garden within view of the office.
“This is the garden, so people taking treatments such as chemotherapy or iron treatments such as Horace used to get can sit and get a peaceful sensibility as they sit and take their treatments with a nice, beautiful garden setting,” Lerro said. “It’s perfect.”
Lerro said Raper came to the office for several years for treatment of a hematology condition.
But Lerro knew Raper’s work before he knew the artist.
“When I moved here first with my wife and family in 2003, we needed to decorate our home and we ended up purchasing some beautiful prints, one of a tobacco barn and one of a sharecropper cropping,” Lerro said. “They were prints and we had them hanging in our living room since 2003. They were Horace Raper’s artwork.”
Lerro described Raper as “a renowned local folk artist whose visual art and music permeated this area for decades.”
“He contributed to the art scene in Wilson and the surrounding areas,” Lerro said. “He was a drummer for a number of local bands and produced various modalities of art, paintings, sketches, sculptures, woodcarvings and other types of art.”
Pasquarelli said Raper spent many years as a personnel manager at Teledyne Thermatics in Elm City.
Raper’s son-in-law, Paul Pasquarelli, set the sculpture up Friday.
“Horace was always creative,” Paul Pasquarelli said. “In one week he would be thinking about one type of art and another week, he would come up with something else. He just had a very prolific and creative mind and it never ceased to amaze me the many styles that he could do and do well.”
Dawn Pasquarelli said as a child, she was exposed to all kinds of things she would come to appreciate later.
“You got to see many animals and different styles of art and music and things that you never thought would influence your life until you got older and can reflect back and saw ‘Wow, I remember when’ or ‘I remember why he told me this or why he showed me this,’” Pasquarelli said.
Raper invented and painted characters he called The Weefolken, which were miniature gnomes.
“We have a whole world of paintings of those that he did of those,” Pasquarelli said. “He was a character.”
Pasquarelli said she’s pleased to have fulfilled her father’s wish.
“Being the one-year anniversary of his passing, it fills me with such joy to know that his work is going to be seen for years to come and by generations to come,” Pasquarelli said. “That was one of his final wishes on his wish list to have this donated here for the patients to look at and enjoy.”