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Leslie Pierce

Leslie Edward "Les" Pierce

MANSFIELD: Les Pierce was a great teacher. He was a great teacher because he invested in his students. Much more than just his time, he invested in the character of his students, prompting them to grow through independent thinking and critical learning. It was the same approach he took to raising four responsible children. He instilled in his children, and his students, the importance of refusing to let others do your thinking for you; and learning to use your own thoughts and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.

A man who taught responsibility, and exemplified moral character, Les Pierce died Monday morning November 26, 2012 in his home. He was 84.

Born March 25, 1928 in Cincinnati to Dana Arthur and Faye (Hill) Pierce, his father was killed in a hunting accident shortly before Les' birth. He was graduated from West Salem High School, earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ashland University, and earned a Masters of Educational Administration from Indiana University.

Les served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in the occupation of Japan, and was discharged from the Army in order to be one of the very first servicemen inducted into the newly formed U.S. Air Force.

For thirty years he invested in students in Mansfield City Schools. For most of those years he taught the natural sciences in every city middle school and high school. He served seven years as principal of Sherman Middle School, and the last seven years of his career he helped implement the Occupational Work Experience program, assisting students who could excel through nontraditional learning. He retired in 1982. Many of his students remember him as a sporting coach: he coached nearly every sport offered in the district, but truly enjoyed his time with the football and track teams.

An avid fisherman, Les' favorite place in the whole world was his cabin in Northern Ontario, Canada. It was his retreat - and his inspiration. He invested his love for the out-of-doors and the environment in his children and grandchildren.

Family values mattered to Les. He instilled them in his children and modeled them to his grandchildren. Remembered as their "hero," he was much more than a grandfather, he was an outstanding man of character.

Les loved telling stories. His sharp wit, and even caustic sense of humor leaned toward sarcasm or deadpan. Sometimes correcting, but always loving, he never asked his family to think like he did - only that they think.

His surviving family includes his wife of 60 years Doris (Gilbert) Pierce; their children Rebecca & Oliver Thurneyssen of Lexington, Dana Arthur & Mary Pierce of Charlotte, NC, Jennifer & Paul Huffman of Cincinnati and Gilbert Pierce of Lewis Center; eight grandchildren; two great grandchildren; a brother Arthur "Bud" & Pat Pierce of Los Angeles, CA; and a sister Dolly & Bill Repp of Morenci, AZ.

He was preceded in death by a great granddaughter; a brother Tom Pierce and a sister Virginia Limbacher.

The Pierce family will receive friends Thursday, November 29, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home, where his memorial service will follow at 1 p.m. Rev. David Root will speak. Private interment will be in Lexington Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, an investment in the lives of others by a memorial contribution to Richland County Foundation may be made at the funeral home.

Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the Pierce family, and private online condolences may be made to them at: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

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Published in the News Journal on Nov. 28, 2012
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