Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery in Houston: Amazing Portraits!

Updated on May 7, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Artist Ken Pridgeon pointing at some of his portraits
Artist Ken Pridgeon pointing at some of his portraits | Source

Honoring Those Who Paid the Ultimate Price

At the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery, visitors can see about 100 images of Texans in service to our country. All of them paid the ultimate price in sacrificing their lives for the rest of us who live in freedom. There are hundreds of additional portraits stored in the back room of the gallery. They are often rotated so that visitors to this Houston gallery can learn about these brave men and women.

Ken Pridgeon, Sr. is the artist who continually adds more portraits to the collection. He is an amazing man!

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Exterior view of the Fallen Warriors Memorial GalleryArtist Ken Pridgeon’s Car
Exterior view of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery
Exterior view of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery | Source
Artist Ken Pridgeon’s Car
Artist Ken Pridgeon’s Car | Source
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Ken Pridgeon, Sr.

A good friend of ours told us about the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery some time ago. Recently, my husband and I made our first visit to this gallery and got to meet Ken Pridgeon Sr. in person. This gallery is near the Fallen Warriors Memorial, which is in a beautiful park setting just up the street. The names of these same warriors are inscribed onto the outdoor memorial. But seeing them in portraits created by Mr. Pridgeon not only honors their service to our country but brings them alive so-to-speak.

Ken Pridgeon works things into the foreground of the paintings that had meaning to these fallen heroes. We see them as individuals who played the guitar or football as an example. Ken Pridgeon knows each fallen warrior as if they were his sons or daughters, and consequently, each of his paintings tells a story.

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SSgt Jeremy D. Smith, USMC, from Arlington, TX. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom and was KIA on 04-06-11. SSG Jeffery L. Hartley USA from Hempstead, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 04-08-08 On view at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery: SSG Brian L. Mintzlaff from Fort Worth, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 12-18-06. CPL Scott A. McIntosh from Houston, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 03-10-08. Painted by Ken Pridgeon Sr.: Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to SFC Paul Smith from El Paso, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 04-04-03. SSG James F. Moriarty from Houston, TX. He served in Operation Inherent Resolve and was KIA on 11-04-16
SSgt Jeremy D. Smith, USMC, from Arlington, TX. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom and was KIA on 04-06-11.
SSgt Jeremy D. Smith, USMC, from Arlington, TX. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom and was KIA on 04-06-11. | Source
SSG Jeffery L. Hartley USA from Hempstead, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 04-08-08
SSG Jeffery L. Hartley USA from Hempstead, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 04-08-08 | Source
On view at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery: SSG Brian L. Mintzlaff from Fort Worth, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 12-18-06.
On view at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery: SSG Brian L. Mintzlaff from Fort Worth, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 12-18-06. | Source
CPL Scott A. McIntosh from Houston, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 03-10-08.
CPL Scott A. McIntosh from Houston, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 03-10-08. | Source
Painted by Ken Pridgeon Sr.: Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to SFC Paul Smith from El Paso, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 04-04-03.
Painted by Ken Pridgeon Sr.: Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to SFC Paul Smith from El Paso, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 04-04-03. | Source
SSG James F. Moriarty from Houston, TX. He served in Operation Inherent Resolve and was KIA on 11-04-16
SSG James F. Moriarty from Houston, TX. He served in Operation Inherent Resolve and was KIA on 11-04-16 | Source

Painting Portraits

As you can tell by looking at some of these portraits, Ken Pridgeon Sr. has focused on the eyes of these fallen heroes. This artist credits much of what he does to God. He said several times that his talents and the direction he is taking in memorializing these Texan heroes are due to it being “a God thing.”

He initially painted one portrait and thought that would be the end of it as a favor to a friend. Most importantly, his mission now is to paint every Texan killed in the service to our country. Meanwhile, at 85 years of age, Ken’s purpose in life will require him to continue painting until he draws his last breath. Sadly, our young men and women keep dying in many places around the world in service to our country. He now has many hundreds of paintings at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery, and that number continues to grow.

Many quotes address the eyes. One of the most commonly known ones comes from a traditional proverb, and it says that “The eyes are the window of the soul.” Ken Pridgeon truly captures the eyes of his subjects in his paintings.

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Inside of the Fallen Warriors Memorial GallerySGT MAJ James G. Sartor from Teague, TX. He served in Operation Freedoms Sentinel and was KIA on 07-13-19. Painted by Ken Pridgeon Sr.: First Lt. Laura M. Walker from Fort Bliss, TX. She served in Operation Enduring Freedom and was KIA on 08-18-05. At the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery: SSG Jeremie S. Border from Mesquite, TX. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom. SGT Joshua A. Ward from Matagorda, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 02-09-09. A room inside of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery
Inside of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery
Inside of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery | Source
SGT MAJ James G. Sartor from Teague, TX. He served in Operation Freedoms Sentinel and was KIA on 07-13-19.
SGT MAJ James G. Sartor from Teague, TX. He served in Operation Freedoms Sentinel and was KIA on 07-13-19. | Source
Painted by Ken Pridgeon Sr.: First Lt. Laura M. Walker from Fort Bliss, TX. She served in Operation Enduring Freedom and was KIA on 08-18-05.
Painted by Ken Pridgeon Sr.: First Lt. Laura M. Walker from Fort Bliss, TX. She served in Operation Enduring Freedom and was KIA on 08-18-05. | Source
At the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery: SSG Jeremie S. Border from Mesquite, TX. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom.
At the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery: SSG Jeremie S. Border from Mesquite, TX. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom. | Source
SGT Joshua A. Ward from Matagorda, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 02-09-09.
SGT Joshua A. Ward from Matagorda, TX. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was KIA on 02-09-09. | Source
A room inside of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery
A room inside of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery | Source

The Dauber

Artist Ken Pridgeon Sr. calls himself the "Dauber" and signs some of his paintings that way. In past years, he was a sign painter. That could be a dangerous job as he was high up from the ground when doing that type of work. He also was paid to put paint on the side of barges, which could also be dangerous as they swayed in the seawater.

Finally, with no formal art training and after he was retired, he began painting these types of memorial portraits. As he daubs a bit of paint here and there on large canvases, it is a much safer job for him. It has a tremendous and lasting impact on families of the fallen as well as the community at large.

The original paintings are now kept at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery. Initially, his work was at a gallery in Baytown. On loan to him by the Cy-Champ Public Utility District's Office is this much larger space.

An 18 by a 24-inch digital copy of each painting is given to the family of these fallen heroes. Ken came to realize that many of these families did not have enough space in their homes or apartments to hang such a large painting. Now everyone can see and learn about these brave men and women who shed their lives in the cause of freedom.

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Artist Ken Pridgeon Sr. in the Fallen Warriors Memorial GalleryMany stories are told about these fallen heroes by Ken Pridgeon Sr. Ken Pridgeon working on his latest memorial portrait.
Artist Ken Pridgeon Sr. in the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery
Artist Ken Pridgeon Sr. in the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery | Source
Many stories are told about these fallen heroes by Ken Pridgeon Sr.
Many stories are told about these fallen heroes by Ken Pridgeon Sr. | Source
Ken Pridgeon working on his latest memorial portrait.
Ken Pridgeon working on his latest memorial portrait. | Source

Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery

If you get a chance, do stop in and meet Ken. Prepare to be very touched as he takes you around the gallery and relates stories about these individuals you see in canvasses hanging on the walls. He took my husband and me into a back room where stacks of canvasses are stored. In addition to the memorial portraits, he also has other types of art that he has created.

This water district office now turned art gallery has a kitchen, restroom, lounge area, and it is where Ken Pridgeon Sr. continues to paint. The address is 13455 Cutten Road, Houston, Texas 77066. Their hours are Thursday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday from 1 to 4 PM, or by appointment. Call this number to make an appointment: 832-868-9810. Donations are welcomed.

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Bins filled with art in a back room at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery.Other paintings by Ken Pridgeon Sr. stored in the back roomZarain Wood portrayed by Ken Pridgeon, Sr. William D. Richardson by Artist Ken Pridgeon, Sr.
Bins filled with art in a back room at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery.
Bins filled with art in a back room at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery. | Source
Other paintings by Ken Pridgeon Sr. stored in the back room
Other paintings by Ken Pridgeon Sr. stored in the back room | Source
Zarain Wood portrayed by Ken Pridgeon, Sr.
Zarain Wood portrayed by Ken Pridgeon, Sr. | Source
William D. Richardson by Artist Ken Pridgeon, Sr.
William D. Richardson by Artist Ken Pridgeon, Sr. | Source
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Takeaways

Our visit was a spur of the moment thing. I have been thinking about what Ken has accomplished and what he continues to do ever since.

We found out from him that he learned how to paint hands by watching YouTube videos. There is a painting by Ken that hangs over a desk that represents the Fallen Warriors Memorial. It is titled "Releasing of the Spirits." Since we visited that memorial, a Service Dog Memorial has been added, giving us another reason to go back and revisit it.

Below are a few more photos and some videos. The first two videos are ones shot in the old location of Baytown. The last video is from the current site on Cutten Road in Houston. Do yourself a favor and visit the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery while Ken Pridgeon is still there. I promise that it will be an unforgettable visit for you as it was for us.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        He is doing what he loves, and I am sure that the recipients of the reproductions of his paintings are very grateful that he has memorialized their loved ones in such a manner.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 weeks ago from USA

        What this man is doing is clearly a labor of love. I hope he is richly rewarded with gratitude. The paintings are beautiful and detailed tributes to the fallen.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ann,

        Your comments came though. I am just a little behind on answering the comments because of transferring so many of my articles to this site. I'll get to them eventually!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Sourav,

        The space this artist has to portray his work is excellent. So nice of the water district to let him use the building in that manner.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Kyler,

        I agree with you that our men and women in service deserve our thanks and prayers.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        5 weeks ago from SW England

        I've commented on several of your hubs in the last couple of days but for some reason they don't seem to be registering, even given the time to get through the process. I'm wondering if HP are hiccuping for some reason!

        This is amazing art and a great tribute by a gifted man.

        Ann

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        Ken Pridgeon is genuinely serving a great purpose in life and will be leaving behind a legacy that will continue to touch many people long after his last brushstroke is made.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        It is a wonderful thing that Ken is doing. May God bless him with a long and fruitful life!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Nell,

        That would be amazing if you have seen Ken's work televised. There are many talented people like him in the world.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        6 weeks ago from SW England

        Wow! An amazing place and an amazing man.

        Ann

      • hubber8893 profile image

        Sourav Rana 

        6 weeks ago

        I am amazed to know about a place built on such a great theme. The artist has done a splendid job in creating the portraits.

      • Kyler J Falk profile image

        Kyler J Falk 

        6 weeks ago from Corona, CA

        What a wonderful, patriotic gallery! When I was walking on base they'd have the medals and pictures of fallen heroes all over the walls inside and outside, it always inspired bravery and love for the country, even the stories that were gruesome.

        Our heroes will always deserve more!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        Ken Pridgeon is one amazing man! Listening to him talk about the different men and women in his portraits is a one-of-a-kind experience.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        6 weeks ago from UK

        This is an amazing tribute to the fallen. What a gifted artist he is and what a valuable role he is playing.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        6 weeks ago from Massachusetts

        What an absolutely beautiful tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price. This is a wonderful thing that Ken is doing. If we ever get to Houston this will be a must see. Thank you so much for sharing.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        6 weeks ago from England

        Wow, what an amazing artist! I have a feeling that I have seen him on TV on something like either Orange county Choppers, or one of the other car programs. He painted a hero on one of the cars for the guys father! A while ago, but I do remember it. Wonderful!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        That is a beautiful tribute to our fallen heroes. Bravo to the artist for dedicating his life to such a noble cause.

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