So Loved, So Missed, Always Remembered
John Lionel Pierce, passed on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at home, at 74 years of age. A resident of Palm Desert, California, he was born at St. John's Hospital, Santa Monica, California, and grew up in Malibu, California. After serving for two years in the United States Army, a year of which was spent in Vietnam, and honorably discharged as a corporal, he settled in Long Beach, California, in 1969, where he purchased his first home. After having completed an Associates of Arts degree in Fine Arts and Design, at Santa Monica City College, and studying Fine Arts and Illustration very successfully at Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, he later completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree, Cum Laude, at California State University, Long Beach, majoring in Fine Arts and Illustration, in 1976.
Later in life, at the age of 48, he met the love of his life, Linda Capelli Hamilton, and they were married at a beautiful ceremony in the Chapel at Marymount College, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where John served as the Chair of the Art Department and Linda served as the Operations Coordinator for Residential Life. They married on September 30, 1995. It was the first marriage for John, and Linda's second marriage. Right before he passed they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They were deeply in love and completely devoted to one another.
The first born of four sons of Maurine Eleanor Blum, of Normal, Illinois, and Lionel Warren Pierce, of Lincoln, Nebraska, he is survived by his beloved wife of 25 years, Linda Ann, his two younger brothers, Larry of Portland, Oregon; and Brian, of Ventura, California; nephew, Mathew Robert, also of Portland, Oregon; niece, Avery Wheeler Sly, nephew-by-marriage, Cory Sly, and brand new great-nephew, Dawson Randy Sly, all of Ellensburg, Washington, and by marriage of his niece, Avery, a whole set of triplets, Paisley Sly, a girl, Brooks Sly, a boy, and Calley Sly, a girl; sisters-in-law, Nicole and Diane Pierce, and Daria Capelli Wheeler; Brother-in-Law, Randy Wheeler; and numerous cousins. He is pre-deceased by his younger brother, Dennis Lynn, who tragically passed, in 1985, in an automobile accident.
John was an extremely talented artist who taught painting and drawing, as well as graphic design to many students at both Marymount College, Palos Verdes, and California State University, Dominguez Hills, California. John was well known for being very popular and well loved by his many students. Throughout his lifetime, John created many unique and beautiful paintings which are owned by his family and friends. As a painter he was very interested in exploring themes relating to the relationship of geometrical forms and the harmonics of color. At California State University, Dominguez Hills, from 1999, he was an Adjunct Professor and taught design students, as well as serving as Creative Director for the Department of Institutional Advancement. He also held this role at Occidental College, after leaving Marymount College in 1977, where he was an Assistant Professor, and also served as Chair of the Art Department, in 1994-1995. He retired from his role as Creative Director at CSUDH in 2012, and retired from teaching in 2019.
Prior to his bringing his design and illustration skills to the academic world, John was Creative Director at the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools for many years and also worked at Brentwood Publishing. Because of his sophisticated and clean design style, admired by all throughout his long and prolific career, he was always in great demand as a Freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. He was especially gifted in magazine production and created and launched university/college publications at each of the educational institutions where he contributed his prolific talent. These publications are still being produced today.
John was extremely well-loved by all who knew him. He had a wonderful sense of humor, beautiful smile, and sharp and ready wit. One of many reasons he was admired by so many was because he was thoroughly honest in relationships with people. The President of Marymount College, Tom Woods, once described John in the most affectionate way, as "an open-faced sandwich". John was too kind to think of being deceitful in his relationships with others.
He was also an excellent host and was well known among his friends for his wonderful pot-luck parties. His love of art and design also extended to his home and garden. His wife always said that it was not only the fact that he owned his own home that she found attractive, but even more so, the extremely artistic and masculine way he had furnished and designed his home. She was extremely impressed to discover that he used colorful cloth napkins for his meals!
John was well traveled and spent a great many months traveling Europe over the years, particularly France. Over the period of several years John returned to a beautiful farmhouse in Provence many times and spent many languid summers living there.
John was a man of great faith and for a period of time he served as a Deacon in his church. He also hosted and led a Bible Study home group for five years. He often was known to say, "God has blessed me all of my life." His faith was extremely important to him and he was very well read in the fields of religion and philosophy as well as in art and the history of design. He greatly enjoyed history of many other genres including ancient, medieval, and British history, as well as literature. In going through his belongings, his wife expressed astonishment and was very impressed to see the amount of annotations and notes in his Bibles and other books.
A Tribute Day will be held in his honor on Friday, November 20, 2020 with a morning memorial service, which due to Covid 19 restrictions is limited to invited guests only, at Rose Mortuary, Rancho Mirage, California. At 1:00 pm, at Coachella Valley Cemetery, Coachella, California, a graveside service will be held, which his many friends are welcome to attend. Floral donations, for John loved flowers, can be sent for arrival on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 2020, to: Rose Mortuary, 71555 Hwy 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. Alternatively, donations can be made in his honor to: Stand up to Cancer.
John was a rare gem, loving and courageous, and is very greatly loved and missed by many. His passing was as his life was, peaceful, spiritual, with great dignity and courage. He showed his great love and gusto for life right to the very end, fighting the cancer which ultimately claimed him with a warrior's courage, and passing as he had lived, on his own terms. He is truly irreplaceable.
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Nov. 17, 2020.