Very close friend of Bill Monroe’s and Bean Blossom attendee for over 55 years, James ‘Jim’ Peva passed away on May 5, 2021. He was 92 years old.
James Richard Peva was born near Evansville, Indiana, on May 7, 1928, spending his early life on a farm, and experiencing the hardships of rural life at those times.
Beginning as a trooper in 1950 he had a long career in law enforcement.
Peva was transferred to the Police Headquarters in Indianapolis, where he was promoted through the ranks in the Training and Public Relations Division. Serving as the police legal advisor, he rough-drafted many law enforcement-related bills that ultimately became law in Indiana, including the Indiana Mandatory Police Training Law.
He served on various boards and commissions in state government including the Criminal Law Study Commission and the Criminal Justice Institute Board of Trustees.
Upon retirement from the state police in 1971, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Law at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where he taught all the undergraduate law courses in its Criminal Justice Program.
In this TV news item Peva explains how he first came to meet the Father of Bluegrass music in 1961
Thus, he formed a long-standing and close friendship with Bill Monroe that lasted until Monroe’s passing in 1996. With Monroe’s support and encouragement, Peva established his own family campsite at Bean Blossom. With him serving as the genial host it provided a welcoming ‘home’ for bluegrass fans, particularly those from Europe and Japan.
Also, Peva’s Place, as it has been shown on plans of the location, was where Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys were treated like family.
In 1964 Peva, along with for Blue Grass Boy Roger Smith, local TV and radio businessman Marvin Hedrick, and Carroll McClary, helped to form the short-lived Brown County Music Corporation, introducing some improvements to the jamboree site. Peva’s involvement in enhancing the Bean Blossom facilities didn’t end there as new features, including improved sanitary provisions, were added.
In 2003 Peva initiated the still-ongoing campaign for a commemorative US postage stamp honoring Bill Monroe.
Three years later he produced what he dubbed a souvenir of the Mecca of Bluegrass Music, Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music – published by Infinity Publishing, May 12, 2006, paperback, ISBN13: 9780741432100 ISBN10: 0741432102.
Peva was part of the Advisory Committee when the Bean Blossom Brown County Jamboree Preservation Foundation was established in 2008.
He continued to attend festivals at Bean Blossom until about five years ago.
A Celebration of Life event will be held at some time in the future.
R.I.P. Jim Peva