James Pierson

Obituary of James Pierson

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James Willis Pierson peacefully passed away after battling Alzheimer’s on Friday, December 29, 2023, at the age of 96, surrounded by family.
Jim was born in Montclair, NJ, on June 17, 1927. He was the son of James Topping and Ruth Binzen Pierson.
Jim married Nancy Hobkirk of Essex Fells in 1954. Together they started a family and have five beloved daughters — Amy, Catherine, Jennifer, Sally and Phoebe, 10 wonderful grandchildren and four adorable great grandchildren.
Jim graduated from Glen Ridge High school in 1945, and after serving for a year in the Naval Air Corps, he attended Amherst College and graduated in the class of 1950 with a degree in economics. He was a dedicated alumnus, and he faithfully returned to his alma mater for the annual Williams-Amherst game, in recent years heading to a tent that was labeled “60 Years and Beyond.”
After college, he went to work with his father at JW Pierson Co., in East Orange — a company that was started in 1888 by his grandfather. The company originally sold dry goods, then building materials, including coal and sewer pipe, for use in fast-growing urban areas.
Once he took over the business, Jim decided to enter the emerging fuel oil industry. With perfect timing and, under his skillful management, the hard work of many faithful employees, to whom he was devoted, the company eventually grew to become a successful enterprise, of which he was rightfully proud.
Jim was a caring and involved member of his community. He served on the Glen Ridge Civic Council (a unique governing body of that community), was president of the town council, and became commissioner of the local police and fire departments. He also served on the boards of East Orange General and Mountainside Hospitals and the Glen Ridge Savings and Loan, as president of the Fuel Merchants Association of NJ, as an active member of the East Orange Lions Club, the Montclair YMCA, the Glen Ridge Congregational Church, and the Beacon Unitarian Church in Summit. He was inducted into the East Orange Hall of fame in 2018, honoring his steadfast commitment to the town, even

 during troubling times. His business was declared “the oldest remaining business in the city of East Orange since 1888.”
He had an indomitable spirit and was a natural athlete, which led him to try almost any sport, trip or adventure that presented itself. He rarely said “no,” often without regard for his own comfort or endurance.
He appreciated music. He was an avid reader, who especially enjoyed books about history. He spoke of his time at Amherst college as being a great gift, and his exposure to some of the talented professors of the time a privilege. He didn’t take a moment of it for granted.
One of his favorite places was the beaches of Nantucket. Swimming in the waves, surf-casting from the beach, and scouring the shoals in his boat for clams and fish brought joy and happiness.
Throughout life, Jim was deeply and sincerely interested in people. He rarely spoke of himself, but no matter the circumstance or person, the questions would start: where are you from, what do you do for a living, what do you think about this or that, and so on. Even if the other person was not so engaged, he was.
Jim is survived by his wife, Nancy, and beloved daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
We will, each and every one, miss him and his energy, loving heart, curiosity, sense of humor, good spirit and generosity every day.
A memorial service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to NJPAC, Children’s Education Fund, https://www.njpac.org/support/ make-a-

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Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, March 23, 2024
The Glen Ridge Congregational Church
195 Ridgewood Avenue
Glen Ridge, New Jersey, United States
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James Pierson

In Loving Memory

James Pierson

1927 - 2023

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