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Remembering Haletown’s “Cousin Ricky” (Richard Peardon), comedian and friend to many in Marion County

 

“Cousin Ricky” on stage at The Comedy Catch in Chattanooga… Courtesy Eddie Caylor

With great sadness, we lost one of the funniest people I personally have known this past weekend, when we learned of the passing of Richard Peardon of Haletown. Undoubtedly one of the great characters that made Haletown shine thanks to his quick wit, true southern humor, and ability to spin a story as good as any storyteller you have ever known!

“Cousin Ricky,” as he would come to be known in the comedy world, was one of the most down-to-earth and genuinely comical people you could meet. Just ask any of his many friends or his neighbors in the Haletown (Guild) area.

After the news made it out last weekend, the tributes from friends and fans on Facebook came with abundance.

One of those being from one of his closest fellow-comedian colleagues and friends, Eddie Caylor (“Big Ed” the “Mayor of Ooltewah”), who he traveled all around the region with to perform standup on stages big and small.

I spoke with him about Ricky and he said the loss hurts badly.  “He was truly like a brother. We spent countless hours and miles on the road together and became very close,” said Caylor.

In a post Saturday on his Facebook page, he said of Peardon,  “…[he] was beyond the funniest and most brilliant comedians and persons on and off stage.  We traveled thousands of miles together over the years doing ‘Hicks Gone Wild’ shows together and he always had stories for all of those trips.”

Caylor recounted one such memory that stuck out to him about their time on the road in a separate post,  “I remember one time during Christmas season, Ricky and I had shows in Lynchburg, Virginia on one night and a private show the next night for a car dealership.”

Caylor said that it turns out an ice storm as approaching the night of the last show,  “…I was like, we gotta’ get the he** out of here, Ricky! The power is going to go out, no heat, no food, we gotta’ go!”

He said they loaded-up late in the evening to head back home to Tennessee, but still had to drive right through the ice storm to get home.

“We were in Ricky’s beloved Jeep Cherokee with the cruise control set to 75mph…We passed a salt truck somewhere on I-81 and he [Ricky] said, ‘…What’s a salt truck doing out here?’ …and I said, ‘it’s a d*mn ice storm, Ricky, see the trees laying over and snapping? Better slow down a little!’  Ricky replied, ‘Ahh, we got all-time 4-wheel-drive and these new BFG tires, we’ll be okay!'”

Another Facebook post from a friend and fan said, “The lights of Haletown are a little dimmer with the loss of one of its great national treasures. Thank you for all the laughs in person, at your shows, and on Facebook.”

As mentioned earlier, he toured for many years on stages large and small. From the Comedy Catch in Chattanooga, which also paid tribute to their hometown friend in recent days to stages in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, and beyond. One of the stages you might have seen him dominate wasn’t really a stage, but just the real life, up-close and personal Ricky Peardon experience, when he’d visit the famous front porch at the former Anchor Inn location in the center of Haletown.

Ricky was known for entertaining there, sharing his wisdom, jokes, and many laughs with those stopping in at the once popular store for sometimes nothing more than a chance to socialize with other neighbors.

He was also famous for chronicling the many adventures that he enjoyed with his beloved wife, Nickie, and their four-legged friend, “Ninja Dog” on Facebook on trips they took near and far, all with his own unique twist of humor and hilarity.

Yes, he will be very much missed by so, so many friends far and wide and especially right here in our communities in Marion County.

As a resident myself of Haletown in one way or another since about 1999 or so, I can attest that if you mentioned him to anyone it was always met with a giggle, snort, chuckle, or hearty belly laugh and a story about him or reference to his comedic talents.  Or if you were to mention “Haletown” to someone outside of Marion County in the course of casual conversation it often it was met with, “Oh, do you know that guy…? Cousin Ricky? I saw him at The Comedy Catch one night and he told this story that had me in tears laughing….”

Yes, Haletown will definitely be a bit quieter and less colorful now with one of its most hilarious characters gone, but we’ll never forget those much-needed stories and laughs. Thanks for all of them, Ricky.

Visitation and Memorial Service will be held Saturday in Jasper at Tate Funeral Home.

OBITUARY:

It is with great sadness that the Peardon family announces a bright star was extinguished from this world on July 15, 2023 when Richard Keith “Ricky” Peardon passed away. He died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Haletown, TN in his favorite chair, fondly known as the Recliner of Happiness, after a long battle with heart disease.

Ricky was born on August 26, 1958. He grew up in a loving home with his parents and siblings in Ladd’s Switch, TN. Ricky graduated from Marion County High School in 1976 and went on to a long, rewarding career in Ironworking. He was a member of Ironworker Union Local 704 in Chattanooga for over 35 years.

Ricky was a nationally touring stand-up comic known as Cousin Ricky who played clubs and venues around the country. He got his start in 1998 at his local club in Chattanooga, The Comedy Catch. He was known for his stories about small town living, quirky family, haunted trailers, and poor decision-making involving fire and gasoline. His unique sense of humor garnered him comedic friends and fans from across the nation. He was selected for several CMT television shows and performed as part of the comedy duo “Hicks gone Wild” with his buddy Big Ed Caylor.

He loved riding his Harleys, and his oldest and most treasured belonging was a 1974 FXE Super Glide. Ricky enjoyed sports, music, and being with family and friends, especially the Thirsty Thursday crew. He and Nickie traveled extensively in the western states and national parks since his quadruple bypass in 2019.

Ricky was an Episcopalian and studied the Bible extensively. He was constantly reading a book or magazine and was always planning the “next trip out west” on the laptop and his paper atlas. Many people do not know that Ricky was an award-winning metal sculptor with many pieces being shown in nationally juried art shows and exhibited at such prestigious venues as The Parthenon in Nashville.

Ricky married the love of his life, Nickie, in 1995 on a sunny November Saturday when the University of Tennessee Volunteer football team was not playing. Ricky would always say at the beginning of the first UT football game how glad he was to have lived to see another football season. He died with his Football Time in Tennessee magazine by his side. Ricky loved his family ferociously and everyone needs a dear friend like Ricky.

Ricky was preceded in death by his parents Marion Carl Peardon and Thelma Harris Peardon, sister Brenda Peardon, daughter Tamara Morris, son-in-law Tim Kelly, and brother-in-law Johnny Garrison.

He is survived by his wife Nickie Garner Peardon, daughters Keri Peardon, Tiara Stovall (Matt Rollins), son Kris Morris (Laura Anderson), brother MC (Sherry) Peardon, sister Linda Garrison, grandchildren, Wylie Morris, Rowdy Morris, Tori Henley, Bryson Rollins, and honorary grandchildren Ashton and Makayla Poe. Plus, nephews Greg (Terri) Peardon, Jeff (Stacie) Peardon, Leslie (Bobby) McLeroy, and a host of other relatives including cousins (of course), and beloved friends.

Another joy in life for Ricky was animal rescue. He and Nickie rescued many homeless animals over the years and fostered others until a loving home was found. Ricky had a special relationship with his dog Gracie, aka Ninja Dog. She was his co-pilot on all their across-the-country excursions and was like his little shadow wherever he went, places like dinosaur tracks in Utah and snow-covered mountains in Colorado in May of this year. He also adored their cat, Lily, a rescue, who brought joy and love to their home. He was proceeded in death by many other beloved fur family members including Star the Dog, Missy the Dog, and Little Sis Dog. Plus, the infamous Puss McKeon. When talking about the pets he would often ask, “Who rescued who?”

Additionally, Ricky was a proud Mason and member of the Templar Brotherhood Motorcycle Cub.

In lieu of flowers the family asks to please make donations to the Masonic Widows and Orphans Fund, 100 7th Ave N Suite 1, Nashville, TN 37203, or an area animal rescue group of your choice.

A Masonic service will be Saturday, July 22, 2023, at 4:00 pm CST at Tate Funeral Home in Jasper, Tennessee.

Funeral services are Saturday, July 22, 2023, from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 pm CST at Tate Funeral Home in Jasper, Tennessee with Pastor Roger Webb officiating. Big Ed Caylor will give the Eulogy.

The family will have a private scattering of the ashes at a later date.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Tate Funeral Home, LLC, 950 Mel Dixon Lane, Jasper, Tennessee 37347, 423-942-9500.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.tatefh.com.

Obituary Link