William Clyde "Bill" Pierce went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, May 17, in Muskogee after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 91.
Born August 27, 1925, in Redden, Oklahoma, Bill was the 10th of 11 children born to Lucy Hargraves and J.L. Pierce, and was the last surviving sibling.
He was raised in a loving home on a farm in Daisy, Oklahoma. His father was thought to be the first school bus driver in Oklahoma, and Bill drove the school bus himself at the age of 16. A graduate of Stringtown High School, he often related to friends that he was "the top male student in his class" - then add with a chuckle that he was the only male student in his class.
After joining the U.S. Air Force, he served his country in numerous locales, from New York to Abilene to Taiwan. He also served for several years in Germany in the 1950s, where he helped supervise the Autobahn as a military policeman. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and earned the Bronze Star for his distinguished service there.
Bill served as a recruiter for the Air Force in Muskogee for many years, attaining the rank of Master Sergeant. Following that, he worked at the Veterans Administration for 14 years until his retirement.
Everywhere he went, Bill spread laughter and joy, always having a smile and a joke for friends and strangers alike. He had a perpetually sunny disposition, and loved to tell (and retell) a good story, play a practical joke and spend time with his many friends and large family. One of the highlights of his year was the Pierce Family Reunion, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year in Durant, Oklahoma.
Bill had a keen, inventive mind and was a man of wide interests: carpentry, hunting, fishing, gardening, painting, poetry, bowling, ceramics, square dancing and performing. In 2004, he won the Oklahoma Senior Poetry Contest for his humorous poem "School of Hard Knocks."
Listening to and playing music was one of the major pleasures of Bill's life. He took up the harmonica at age 10 and was always ready to play a toe-tapping tune. In his 80s and into his 90s, he performed with the Muskogee Drifters, a country-and-western band, singing and playing harmonica for appreciative audiences. Even in his last days, he was playing the harmonica for eager listeners and bringing a smile to their faces.
Bill was a longtime member of the "Redneck Roundtable" at Muskogee's Arrowhead Mall, where he got together with old friends to tell tall tales, swap stories and debate current events.
He was a member of Southeast Baptist Church in Muskogee, where he was active in Brother Adrian Totty's Sunday School class. He also volunteered in the Muskogee Community Police Academy Association's "Extra Eyes' program.
He loved to return to his roots by visiting Stringtown, and was a sponsor of the Stringtown Historical Foundation's Legacy Project.
He is survived by his wife, Georgia Pierce; sons, Bill and wife Susan, David and wife Tammy, and Brian and wife Stacey; granddaughters, Cassie and Haley Pierce; grandson, Chad Pierce and wife Lindsey and son, Brooks; grandson, Adam Pierce; stepson, Nick Riggs, his daughters, Ariel and Beonca Hobson and son, Brecken Hobson; stepdaughter, Robyn Lynn Pokrzywinski and her daughter, Allyson Pokrzywinski. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins, who he loved dearly and dearly loved him.
The Pierce family wishes to thank the dedicated staff of The Springs for their exceptional, loving care during his illness.
The family will receive friends and family 2:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M., Sunday, May 21, 2017 at Cornerstone Funeral Home Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Southeast Baptist Church in Muskogee.
A celebration of Bill's life will be 10:00 A.M., Monday, May 22, 2017, at Southeast Baptist Church with Rev. Adrian Totty officiating. Interment to follow at Fort Gibson National Cemetery with full military honors presented.
Published on May 19, 2017