Frances (Ethridge) Pierce (1923 - 2013)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Frances Ethridge Pierce, 89, died Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville.

She was born Dec. 16, 1923, in Henry County, Ala., the oldest daughter of Ralph and Lizzie Ethridge. The family later moved to Dothan, Ala.

Frances graduated from Dothan High School in 1942 as a member of the Honor Society.

During World War II, she helped with community social events for the many soldiers training in nearby military installations.

However, it was a First Baptist Church where she was a member, that she met the soldier she would marry when the war was over, Lt. Luther C. Pierce, who was a Connecticut native. Following their wedding and New Orleans honeymoon, they settled in Brooklyn, Conn., where Luther joined his father's poultry hatchery business.

He later left the business world to become a pastor and held pastorates in Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts. She became what he called a model pastor's wife. They retired in 1986 to live in the retirement home Luther had built in Cummington, Mass., a hill town in the Berkshires.

With age taking its effect, they went to Gainesville in 2011.

Their first son Roger is a retired Air Force officer now living in Gainesville. He was followed by three more sons, Larry, who died in 2008, and James and Alan, who live in Connecticut.

She is survived by her husband of 66 years and a younger sister, Betty Pelt of Mount Olive, N.C.

A lady of many talents, she was noted for her handiwork in earlier years. At the age of 80, she took up oil painting. She worked as a travel agent for many years. She and her husband visited countries all over the world. Luther was a pilot, so in mid-life she decided to learn to fly – just in case. Luther who was a flight instructor taught her. In later life, she taught strength training exercises while maintaining her own health.

She donated her body to the University of Florida Medical School.

A memorial service will be held Monday, May 6, at 2 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1521 N.W. 34th St., Gainesville.

Her ashes will be interred in the family plot in Brooklyn, Conn.

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on May 3, 2013