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Rita Pierson

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Rita Pierson Obituary
Dr. Rita F. Pierson, the daughter of Hazel and Julius Walker, was born October 27, 1951 in Houston, Texas. She departed this life on Friday, June 28, 2013.
Rita accepted Christ at an early age at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. She was a founding member of the Brookhollow Baptist Church. She moved her membership to Christian Congregational Church to join her husband, Rev. Clarence Pierson, in ministry. She remained a faithful servant there, gracing each service with song until her untimely death.
Rita was absolutely devoted to loved ones, particularly her sons Carlo Akil, Kelby Dumont and her daughter, Kristin Benaye. Her greatest joy was her grandchildren, Parker Camille, Maddox Ivey and Marissa Ivey.
In 1969, Rita graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, where she was crowned Miss Washington for the 1968 - 1969 school year. She pursued higher education on a full scholarship at Elmhurst College in Chicago, Illinois and graduated at the top of her class in 1972. After beginning her teaching career, Rita embarked upon her quest for advanced professional education. She received her Masters of Education and Doctorate of Education from Texas Southern University.
Dr. Pierson received countless honors and prestigious recognition and awards for her contributions in education. Most recently she was recognized for sharing her expertise on the PBS production of TED Talks. The ABC television news magazine, 20/20 reported, "Educator Rita F. Pierson talks about the bond that is missing between educators and students". It was viewed and modeled for educators as far away as New Zealand. Over one million online viewers watched the 2013 TED Talks.
Rita was set to serve as Waco Independent School District's Chief Administrative Officer of Community and Family Outreach beginning in the fall of 2013. The position would have placed Dr. Pierson at the helm of a community-wide
anti-poverty initiative.
Rita possessed a keen sense of observation and rare ability to accept and respect people for who they were. She never met a stranger and her infectious humor touched all with whom she came in contact. Rita was a nationally renowned public speaker and led hundreds of workshops for aha! Process since 1997. She was a published author, avid reader, car enthusiast and a true humanitarian.

A celebration of her life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at Brookhollow Baptist Church, The Church Without Walls, 5725 Queenston Blvd., Houston, TX 77084. Rev. Dr. Ralph Douglas West, Pastor/Founder, officiating. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Rita's favorite children's charity, Communities in Schools of Houston, 1235 North Loop West, Suite 300, Houston, TX 77008.

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Published in Houston Chronicle on July 12, 2013
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