June 2, 2018 — John Kenneth Pearce, 94, died peacefully at home May 19, 2018, after a long illness. John’s former daughter-in-law, Oralee Pearce, and her sister Laverne Sanders, who were a part of his life over the last 40 years, were with him and John’s wife, Celia, during the final days of his battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Celia Pearce; his son Christopher Pearce; grandson Kenneth Pearce; great-grandson Parker Pearce; two step-grandsons, Joe Akridge and Robert Pearce, and their families.
John was born in Croydon, a suburb of London, on Feb. 10, 1924. Most of his youth was spent in Dulwich. His father and mother were William and Marjorie Pearce.
At an early age, John was interested in working with his hands; building things and making models from whatever material he could find. After school, he went to work at the age of 15 for a company that made telephones.
At age 18, John went into the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was an air gunner on the bombers during World War II. In early April 1944, duty took him to the Sindh Desert of India (now Pakistan) for 18 months.
John and Celia were married at the Emmanuel Church in West Dulwich, England, on Dec. 17, 1944.
John was a master model maker in England. The owner of Pacific Miniatures in Southern California offered John a job and relocation to California. He worked for Pacific Miniatures for 22 years. Thereafter, John and Celia retired and spent six years traveling between the U.S. and England until they permanently moved to Florence in 1993.
John was a keen cyclist in his youth. He competed in road races and track races. He loved to hike, walk and anything athletic. Although slight in build, he was extremely strong, which amazed the grandchildren.
John enjoyed retirement. He used his model making skills to build useful and clever items for the home. He loved animals, RVing, good food and traveling. John and Celia went on about 15 cruises during their retirement years.
Besides his skills and abilities, John was a true gentleman. He was kind and loving. He always offered to help family and friends. He was warm, compassionate and supportive. He was admired and loved by those who knew him.
Private family services are pending. Contributions can be made to hospice or the Florence Humane Society in his name.