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True family affair at celebratory dinner

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Enjoying their evening: the family reunion participants

As it is Heritage Month, I shall focus on a family that has made, and is continuing to make, significant contributions to our society.

Richard Socco Pearman was born in 1831, the third son of William and Sarah Pearman of Smith’s. Richard, who was a baker by trade, married Malvina Ann Williams on July 18, 1854. The couple lived in Devonshire and raised five girls and three boys.

Over the past 160 years, successive generations of the Pearman family have made significant contribution in the fields of business, commerce, law and politics.

Their descendants include Hugh Richardson, president of the Bermuda Senate from 1980-1987; Marc Bean, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament representing Warwick South Central; Charles-Etta Simmons, puisne judge of the Supreme Court; Claudette White Forth. Along with her husband Eustace Floyd Forth, the late Mrs Forth was the director and owner of several construction companies including Forth Construction and Forth-Ryco Construction, contractors for the $65 million refurbishment of the former Marriott Castle Harbour Resort in the mid-1980s.

The Edward Middleton Stowe tugboat is named after a father and son team who are also descendants of the Pearman family.

More than 400 descendants extending over eight generations gathered last weekend for reunion in honour of Richard and Malvina Pearman.

The group included a host of Bermudians and a contingent of relatives that travelled from Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and California for this special occasion.

The celebrations were hosted by a committee consisting of family members and coordinated by Kendra Lee Pearman, a sixth-generation descendant. Dr Pearman is a graduate of Andrews University, and is currently employed as director, organisational development at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

The activities commenced last Friday evening with a reception in the CedarBridge Academy cafeteria. The highlight of activities on Saturday was a celebratory dinner, for which everyone dressed in white.

The decorations and other ornaments which adorned the cafeteria were designed by cousins, Shirlene Simmons, Tracy Raynor, and Shirley Hollis. They included the Pearman family crest, coloured in green and gold. At the front of the cafeteria stood a picture-filled memorial to family members who had passed away. Relatives took time throughout the evening to honour and reflect on their lives.

The left side of the cafeteria displayed a unique architectural design by Ashley Raynor, a sixth-generation descendant.

It included a clear presentation of the Richard and Malvina Pearman family line, researched by Katina Woodley, another sixth-generation descendant. Most family members frequently visited it throughout the evening, marvelling at the connections that they were making as they interacted with other attendees.

The climax of the dinner was the presentation of several plaques to a host of family members.

Those who were honoured and acknowledged as the oldest surviving descendants included fifth-generation attendees: Kenneth Pearman, June Bulford and her brother Quinton White, Florence Boyles and brothers William and Eugene Richardson. Descendants of Richard and Malvina’s eight children were also acknowledged, photographed and are to be presented later with photos representing the auspicious occasion.

Final celebrations transpired on Sunday afternoon — a buffet of homemade delights prepared and served by family members.

There was face painting and a fun castle for the children’s enjoyment along with Henna tattoos by Samaela Cannonier, a seventh-generation descendant. Music was arranged by Abdul Simmons, an eighth-generation descendant.

The reunion was regarded a great success by family members who were instrumental in organising and participating in the array of activities which accentuated and positively demonstrated the hallmark of family strength, resilience, pride and togetherness.

Joyous occasion: the organising committee of the Pearman family reunion
Kendra Lee Pearman, coordinador of the Pearman family reunion
Karina Woodley, researcher of the Pearman family