NEW BERN - Sam Pearson, 78, of New Bern, passed away on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Mr. Pearson was a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
and served four tours of duty in Vietnam. During his service, he was the recipient of two Purple Heart
s and earned the National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation. He retired from the Marine Corps with 20 of service at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
Following his time in the Marine Corps, Mr. Pearson served as a Deputy Sheriff with the Craven County Sheriff's Dept. and later as the Director of Security for Twin Rivers Mall. He had a passion for the martial arts and held a tenth degree black belt in Watai and Shorin Karate as well as a third degree in Kobu Jitsu (oriental weapons). He earned the title of All Marine Black Belt Champion in 1964 and 1965 and the title of U.S. Champion in 1966. For many years, he owned and operated the New Bern School of Martial Arts, where he was able to instruct, mentor and make a positive impact on many lives.
Mr. Pearson was also a member of MENSA since 1983. In more recent years, Sam devoted much of his time to serving others with his canine companion, Tory, a Glen of Imaal Terrier, who is a highly trained therapy dog. Together, they brought many smiles to the residents of area nursing homes, as well as others, through their visits.
Sam is survived by his wife, 30 years, Jo Ann Pearson; three daughters, Sharon Evon Clifton (Bill), Teresa Marlene Armstrong (Mike), and Lisa Lynn Chambless (Randy); and nine grandchildren, Micky Miller, Nicole Miller, Shawn Armstrong, Alexis Armstrong, Michael Armstrong, Jonathan Gute, Nicholas Gute, Kylie Gute, and Hayden Chambless.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Archie Pearson and Ila Pearson; his stepfather, Ralph Waddell; his brother, Donald Strickland; and his sister, Betty McDaniel.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 11, 2014 at Pollock-Best Funeral Home. Burial will be at a later date at Greenlawn Cemetery in Wilmington, NC.
Friends are invited to share memories and sign the online guest book by visiting www.pollockbest.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to Canines for Service, Inc., PO Box 12643, Wilmington, NC 28412.
Arrangements are by Pollock-Best Funerals & Cremations.
To sign our guestbook, go to newbernsj.com.