Aug. 24, 2018, the day Dr. Harry Edgar Peirce Jr. died, after battling Alzheimer’s for several years, was not a sunshiny day in the Twin Cities.
Shortly after he was born March 15, 1926, in Mankato, Minn., his family moved to Staples, Minn. No matter where in the world life took him, Staples was home to him. He left to serve in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge and a brief try at running a feed store, he left Staples for good to use the GI Bill and get his BA in education from the University of Minnesota in 1950. He taught high school agriculture in Akeley, Minn., Winona and St. Charles and ag education at the University of Florida and Purdue. He worked on agricultural education projects in the Philippines, El Salvador, Greece and throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. Along the way he earned a MS from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from Cornell University. Community activities were important to Harry. In Akeley, he was an active Mason and in Winona, he was active in the Methodist Church, Boys Scouts (since he, himself, was an Eagle Scout) and the Minnesota Vocational Agricultural Instructors Association (president 1964-65.) After retiring to Baudette, Minn., in 1987, his activism went into high gear. He served on a county planning commission, was a deacon of the Congregational Church, Commandant of the VFW, played in the Borderland Symphony Orchestra, served as Lake of the Woods county chair of the DFL, was a census taker, volunteered as a tutor in the local grade school and delivered Meals on Wheels.
Harry was almost as passionate about fishing and hunting as he was about his family. He thought life was great at the top of the 48. Several years ago he was asked what he was proudest of doing. His answer was, “Being able to show the world to my children.” We were very appreciative, but are also proud of the fact that our Dad helped farmers around the world farm more effectively, so they can provide better lives for their families.
He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings; son, Michael; first wife, Betty Churchill Peirce Fejfar and second wife, Arlene Jenkins Nelson Dolinski Peirce. Aside from his daughters, Claire Peirce and Pam Peirce, he is survived by and will be missed by five stepchildren and their children and grandchildren; 11 nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren; and a multitude of cousins.