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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Gerald "Bud" Pearson

Thursday, June 26, 2008

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Funeral services for Mr. Gerald "Bud" Pearson, 82, of Okoboji, formerly of Spencer, will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 28, 2008, at Good News Community Church in Okoboji. Rev. Noni Strand is in charge of arrangements.

Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Friday with the family present from 5-7 p.m. at the Warner Funeral Home of Spencer.

Interment will take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer.

Gerald passed away Monday, June 23, 2008, at Lakes Regional Health Center in Spirit Lake.

Bud was born on June 24, 1925, at the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn. He was the son pf Perry and Lillian (Peterson) Pearson, and brother to Robert and Marjory. At age eight, after his mother's death, Bud moved in with his aunt Sophie and uncle Eph in Trimont, Minn. Bud excelled in school and sports, making the All-State American Legion team as first baseman. In 1943, during his senior year at Trimont High School, the lefty signed a contract with the St. Paul's Saints AA ball team. However, he was unable to play out his baseball dreams. Bud was drafted into the Navy and served in the Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Baltimore as a radio technician.

Returning to Trimont after the war, Bud married Beverly M. (Schultz) Pearson on Nov. 10, 1946. They were married for 61 years, and were the proud parents of Steven, Monte, Perry, Maribeth, and Liecia. Bud and Bev raised their children in Spencer, and enjoyed summers at Lake Okoboji.

Through much hard work with his Uncle Eph and brother Bob, and Bud's strong Swedish work ethic, they built a successful beef-packing company in founding Spencer Foods in 1952, a beef packing company based in Spencer. As chairman, president and CEO, he led the company to the position of the third largest beef packer in the United States. In 1972, Spencer Foods ranked 323 on FORTUNE magazine's list of the country's 500 largest industrial companies. In 1975, he took the company public, and in 1978 he spearheaded its sale to Land O'Lakes. A successful reentry into industry followed with son Steve in Beef Specialists of Iowa.

In 1971, Bud founded the Pearson Art Foundation, to which he devoted much of his life's work. The primary goal of the PAF is to expand the appreciation of art in the public, and it is based in Bud's belief that the arts, like sports, are a great equalizer in society.

Today, his vast collecion of Russian Impressionism and American art is on display for the public at the Pearson Lakes Art Center. As a tribute to his late son, Monte, a gallery is named after him there.

His love of golf led him to form World Champions of Golf to feature players from the golden age of golf. As an owner of Brooks Golf Club in Okoboji, Bud and his son Perry transformed the historic 18-hole course into a 27-hole course, inspired by the Scottish links they played on trips with friends. At age 76, Bud shot a 69 at Brooks; he seemed to get better with age, and he played 76 of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World.

Bud served on the Royal Swedish Roundtable, established the Pearson Professorship at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas and founded the Pearson Foundation for Young Swedish Americans. Helping to save Arnold's Park Amusement Park in 1988, sponsoring charity golf tournaments for Camp Foster, and building a park in honor of his late daughter, Maribeth, Bud was passionately committed to improving the quality of life for Iowans.

Bud is survived by his wife, Beverly; his brother, Bob of Colorado; two sons: Steve of Okoboji, and Perry and his wife Teresa of Okoboji; a daughter, Liecia Patterson and her husband, Pat; five grandchildren; and two great grandsons.

This summer, a Celebration of Life will be held in Bud's honor at Brooks National Golf Club Okoboji.

Gifts and Memorials may be directed to "Bud Pearson Cherish Home" Quakerdale, P.O. Box 8, New Providence, IA 50206 or gifts in lieu of flowers for "Betsy's Deerland Park" at the Pearson Lakes Art Center, P.O. Box 255, Okoboji, IA 51355.

Warner Funeral Home of Spencer is in charge of arrangements.