His life was a template of decency–Glenn O. Pierce, May 31, 1922 – December 20, 2017
For many, the restored farmstead structures at Kline Creek Farm in the Pleasant Hill Community near Wheaton, stand as a memorial to the volunteer carpentry of a beloved community member Glenn O. Pierce, who passed December 20, 2017 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Nearest the end of National Street along County Farm Road in DuPage County, the Kline Creek Farm today represents an opportunity to “step back in time to the experience [of] life on a working farm in the 1890s.”
A little more than a stone’s throw across the road from Kline Creek Farm, in another step back in time to the experiences of life in the 1950’s are where my earliest memories of Glenn Pierce were warmly imprinted. A gaggle of us boys would sometimes stop at one of the houses he was framing, on our way to the creek, just to give Mr. Pierce a shout.
In my mind’s eye, I have the memory of Glenn Pierce looking down talking to us from the second floor of a house he was framing, thinking that building houses was something honorable—a man’s work, outside in the sun, putting wood together with saws and hammers, building a home for someone, a family.
Born May 31, 1922 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Glenn Pierce was trained as a radio man while serving in the Army Air Corps during WWII. Afterwards, he and wife Edith Pierce settled near Wheaton, Illinois, where, for most of his life, he worked as a carpenter while raising a family.
In an email, his son George wrote, “I’ve always wondered if his choice of vocation wasn’t influenced by the fact that Jesus was a carpenter.” Adding, “Dad loved his God and his family and I think he did well by both of them.”
Not far from Kline Creek Farm, Glenn Pierce served as a Deacon in the Pleasant Hill Community Church and was the Church’s only elder for many years. Later, he became an Elder Emeritus until he and Edith left the area as missionaries, eventually resettling in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Between 2012 and 2014, I made several visits to the Kline Creek Farm and the surrounding area which brought even back more memories of exploring the creek, fields and farms with my friend George—Glenn’s son.
There was a time when Glenn Pierce knew about the difficulty in my home, but it was never discussed. He just took us camping, talked with us about glaciers, insects, birds and nature while feeding our interest and curiosity.
During the span of the nearly six decades that followed, we somehow found ways to stay in touch over great distances—his efforts gave me a feeling of self worth. He knew me from the second grade on and even made a point of coming to visit me in California when I was in my 30’s—he showed me that I was valued. There were no empty words.
In the winter of 2013, I stopped in to visit him in Tahlequah—he was in his 90’s. We spoke almost monthly by phone, thereafter. During his final trip around the sun, he called to tell me about a potential teaching job he’d heard about—he was just doing what he could, making people feel valued and unwittingly leaving a treasure of warm remembrances. He was still looking out for me and I knew it—he was doing what he knew, giving.
The passing of Glenn O. Pierce was preceded by his wife of 70 years Edith Sarah (Robson) Pierce. They are survived by son George/wife Eleanor Pierce and daughter Glenda/husband John Norwood and four grandchildren Ron and Kim Norwood, Cindy and Jeff Lawson, Leslie and Rob Chadges and Julie Norwood. They are further blessed with the love of seven great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.
Glenn Pierce is also remembered with love, by his special friend Ethel Schumacher and many friends at Go Ye Village, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
For me, those experiences are a step back in time to when people took pride in how they behaved, what they said and what they stood for. It was a time when decency was valued more than money.
Thank you Glenn O. Pierce—your life was a template of decency.
Filed under: Wheaton