Don helped move his entire family to south Texas when his father's doctor recommended, he move to sea level for his health. That was his first visit to palm trees, ocean and sand. He returned to Wolsey, SD to finish his senior year of high school, graduated, sold the family farm and made his way back to Harlingen, Texas.
In 1951 he fell in love and married Bernice Apel in Enid, Oklahoma on June 23 and moved to Enid in 1952 when he got out of the Air Force, with his new wife and started a family. Don and Bernice's first son Richard was born February 6, 1952 and left this world in 2005 at 53---way too soon. He's forever in our hearts and prayers. The family moved to Harlingen and then to Kingsville where Mom worked at Mack's Chicken Shack and Don went to school at Texas A&I (now A&M). He studied music and psychology with occasional photography classes with Bernice. Dad's brother Dean lived with them while also going to school at A&I and the two brothers played music in a dance band. Their daughter Kathy was born 1953 in Kingsville while both parents worked at The Ranch Drive-In and Restaurant; Dad in the kitchen and Mom was car hopping. In 1954 they moved back to Enid, Oklahoma to get better jobs, bought a new house and daughter Susan was born October 21st. Don used his saxophones for their down payment. He worked at Marquis Photo Studio where he took school pictures all around a nine-state area.
DONVAN ROY PIERCE
1930 - 2019
Donovan Roy Pierce, our 89-year-old dad, left this world for a more peaceful place with his wife of 66 years beside him, on October 30, 2019, in Harlingen, Texas. Dad loved the warmth and his screened in porch in Texas. After a 2017 stroke and two minor ones that followed in 2018, he had to move into an assisted living facility with Mom early this year.
Don was born in Wolsey, South Dakota at the family farm on May 16, 1930, one of five children born to Roy and Mildred Pierce. He is survived by Dean Pierce, of Winterville, GA; Barbara Morris, Stewart Pierce and Joann Eudaly all of Harlingen, Texas.
Don joined the U.S. Army Air Force in September 1948 and survived Boot Camp and a 4-year stint at Randolf Air Force base where he was recruited into the band. He wanted to fly planes but was rejected because he didn't have 20/20 vision.
Dad was called back into active service in September 1957 and had 30 days to report to Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. 1957 to 1960 Don and Bernice lived in Base quarters with their three children until mid-1960 when Don was transferred to Lackland air Force Base in San Antonio. In September he received orders for Wiesbaden Air Force Base in Germany, so Mom had to pack-up, sell the house and wait 7 months for shipping orders for the rest of the family to join him in Germany. President Eisenhower blocked family dependents travel because of pending war so Dad wrote to the Secretary of Defense asking for his family due to hardship and we were granted travel orders. We lived on the Economy about a year above an Italian Restaurant and moved on base when housing became available. Don played saxophones and several woodwinds with the Air Force Band during his 3-year tour, went to every country, except Russia following U.S. President's visits.
1963 orders sent the family to Montgomery Alabama where they experienced historic changes in the United States. August 20th, 1964 their youngest son Alan was born. Don and Bernice wanted to settle down in one place to raise their young family, so Don sent a tape of his music to the conductor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He was immediately sent transfer papers for the Air Force Academy Band and moved the family to base housing in 1965 and into a new home in Colorado Springs shortly thereafter.
Mom and Dad traveled back and forth from Colorado to south Texas with their RV and trailer for about 5 years after Dad retired November 1973 and then decided to buy a place. They bought a nice trailer in a little oasis called River Ranch Resort right on the Colorado Arroyo in Rio Hondo Texas where they spent the next 15 years enjoying life. Dad, you are loved and missed everyday.
Published in The Gazette from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24, 2019.