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Donald Pierson

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Aug. 4, 1931 — April 8, 2024

Graveside services for Donald Paul Pierson will be conducted at 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 30, 2024, at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer. Rev. Deb Mechler will officiate the service.

Don, 92, passed away on April 8, 2024, in Naples, Florida. He was born on Aug. 4, 1931, to Mildred (DeBolt) and Paul Pierson, in Clay County, Iowa. He grew up on a farm and always told wonderful stories about his adventures as a farm kid. His family loved the stories of him trying to tie the lawn mower to his pony, or renting a boat for 50 cents and water skiing all afternoon on Lake Okoboji, and of course those of he and his brother Bob and the trouble they got into. Don graduated from Gillette Grove High School in 1949 and entered the Navy shortly after, proudly serving during the Korean War.

Don met Barbara Mason at a basketball game in Ruthven and proposed to her on her high school prom night. Don and Barbara were united in marriage on Aug. 12, 1951. After the wedding the couple returned to Virginia Beach where Don finished his service in the U.S. Navy. Son Tim was born there in 1953. The couple returned to farm in Clay County where they both grew up and to their family, daughter Robin born in 1958.


Don didn’t like farming. He got lonely on a tractor by himself all day and he would pray for his equipment to break down so he could go to town and talk to people. In 1959 he took a job at the Ford Dealership in Estherville and here he found his passion, selling cars. He quickly received offers from other dealerships in Iowa and the Pierson’s began moving every few years. His reputation in the car business grew rapidly. In 1975 Don accepted a job in Sierra Vista, Arizona, taking the family out of Iowa. Don’s dream was to own his own dealership. The moving continued until 1978 when Don and Barbara purchased Pierson Ford in Red Oak, Iowa, and the family moved back. In 1979 they purchased Spencer’s Ford Dealership and moved back to Clay County. Then in 1983 Don and Barb purchased Pierson Ford in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Don served as President of Iowa Automobile Dealers Association in 1995 and served on their board for 10 years. He loved the car business and stayed active in the dealerships until his last years of life. Throughout his life Don was always proud to be from rural Iowa and always remained a farm kid from Dickens, which isn’t very big.

Upon retirement Don and Barb moved to Naples, Florida, where they built two homes in Grey Oaks. There they made many good friends, golfed, enjoyed going out for great food, and being members of their church Emmanuel Lutheran in Naples.

Don’s wife Barbara died in 2014. He was fortunate to meet another great love of his life, Kate Thompson. They were married on May 18, 2016. The two spent almost eight wonderful years together in Naples continuing to live in Grey Oaks until Don’s illness took them to Moorings Park, where Kate was his constant companion during Don’s struggles with Parkinson’s.

Don was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara Pierson; son, Timothy Pierson; parents, Paul and Mildred Pierson; brother, Robert Pierson; brother-in-law, Stanley Olson, and nephew, Kent Olson.

Don is survived by his wife Kate; daughter, Robin and husband Duane Barber; grandchildren, Anne Barber and husband, Pete Nessa, Jane Barber, Paul Pierson, Fort Massay and wife, Courtney, Tom Barber and wife, Brooke; great-grandchildren, Jimmy, Molly and Joe Nessa, Amelia and Charlie Pierson, Grey and Remy Massay, and Theo and Parker Barber, and his sister-in-law, Margaret Olson.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Arrangements by Warner Funeral Home of Spencer, www.warnerfuneralhome.com.

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