Since the small death notice in February I have searched the obits, and elsewhere, for word about Phil Pearl, or his alter-ego PJ Kirkland, to no avail. A tribute is certainly due to a man so well known to KGY listeners in this area, so I will attempt one.
I met and worked with Phil in the ’60s at Centralia Community College at KCC, the college station. We crossed paths again in Olympia, himself as the KGY radio personality P J Kirkland, and myself as a member of OFS (Olympia Folklore Society, yes, we had those initials before the film folks); we were presenting a benefit Hootenanny for Y.E.S. (Youth Emergency Services). We asked PJ to host the event, and I “leaned” on him to sing a song for the performance – the first, and, perhaps, the last time he ever sang in public.
When I learned of his passing, I dug into my old recordings and found a cassette of that show. That rich radio baritone voice worked wonderfully well on “The Foggy, Foggy Dew.” His service to KGY and to its listeners places him alongside other KGY “greats” like Bob Macleod and Dick Pust, and I’m honored and grateful to have worked with him on charity events. Thank you, Phil!