Dudley Jerome Pearce
October 19, 1937 ~ September 1, 2023
Resided in: Gainesville, GA
Dudley “Jerry” Pearce died on September 1, 2023, from complications of liver cancer, after many weeks of loving visits from family and friends.
Dudley Jerome Pearce was born October 19, 1937, Macon, GA, to Mary and Dudley Pearce. He was the eldest of four children. At a very young age he worked in his father’s business, and throughout high school he worked for Earl’s Candy Company. Dudley was graduated from Sidney Lanier High School for Boys in 1955. He enlisted in the Georgia National Guard and served while he attended Mercer University, where he earned BA degrees in Mathematics and Economics. Dudley met the love of his life, Ruth Louise Kilpatrick, while he was at Mercer. They were married in 1960 and moved to Montgomery, AL, where Dudley worked as a civilian at Maxwell Air Force Base and was a member of the Alabama Air National Guard. He was later commissioned as an officer there. He decided to further his education and enrolled in the University of Alabama where he received a master’s degree in Statistics.
After graduation, Dudley began his long career working with computers for DuPont in Chattanooga, TN. The couple was the proud parents to two children, Stephen and Sharon. The family was involved in community and church life at Red Bank Presbyterian Church, where Dudley served as an elder and a deacon. Dudley was active in Boy Scouting for more than a decade and led his troop on monthly camping trips. His leadership as scoutmaster enabled more than two dozen scouts under his supervision in Chattanooga to achieve Eagle Scout, including his son, Steve. He also led his family on camping vacations, including a cross-country expedition to California and back.
When he was transferred to the DuPont plant in Athens, GA, the move enabled Dudley to dabble in farming activities on a spacious piece of property, including boarding horses, raising pairs of cattle, and protecting a modest vegetable patch from marauding critters. His love of the outdoors was later expressed in his devotion to deer hunting and the good friends who shared this passion. Dudley served as a deacon and an elder at Faith Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Watkinsville, GA, and was instrumental in helping it grow into its current permanent campus.
Dudley was tight with a dollar and free with his friendship. He loved to find the best Black Friday deals, staking out Best Buy and Krispy Kreme in the pre-dawn darkness on the Friday after Thanksgiving. His computer advice was much sought after by family and friends. He took his extended family on many trips, including camping across the nation, and created a collection of fond memories. He enjoyed family trips to Hawaii, the Outer Banks, Colonial Williamsburg, the North Carolina and Georgia mountains, a mission-related trip to Singapore with his wife, and an excursion to Colorado Springs for a grandson’s U.S. Air Force Academy graduation.
Playing strategy games was a favorite pastime of his, and he enjoyed the company of like-minded players in Athens, attending an annual ChattaCon event in Chattanooga, as well as other gatherings. These friends have been a constant source of support and fellowship over the years, proving that the people who play together, stay together.
When health issues coincided with an opportunity to join a retirement community near their daughter, Sharon, they sold their Athens farm and moved to Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville, GA. They thrived in this new environment, joining Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA) and forging new bonds while staying in touch with their Chattanooga and Athens friends. Dudley once again became the guy to see if you had a technical issue, and he seemed to adopt stray computer parts the way some people collect hotel soaps. Every fall, he grew out his whiskers in preparation for two things: deer hunting season and playing Santa Claus for the first graders in his daughter Sharon’s classroom.
Dudley is survived by his children, Maj. Steve (Melissa) Pearce, USAF (Ret); and Sharon (Todd) Nizialek; his grandchildren, Georgia Pearce; Capt. Hudson Pearce, USAF; Emily (David) Wright; and Drew (Victoria) Nizialek; great-granddaughter, Esther Wright; and brothers Lary and Bill (Leigh) Pearce. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 60 years, Ruth; his parents, Mary (Jones) and Dudley Pearce; and his sister, Rosemary Pearce.
A memorial service will be held on September 9 at 4:00 pm at Gainesville First United Methodist Church Lakeside. In lieu of flowers, Dudley requested donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. His family would like to thank the dedicated staff at Lake Lanier Village for their diligent care of not just their patient, but also his family during this time of change.