Robert Otho Pierce 

Robert Otho Pierce departed from this life on July 17, 2016, at his home in Caruthersville, Missouri. He was 89 years old. Mr. Pierce was born near Caruthersville, Missouri, (Chute Sixteen) on February 10, 1927 to Lucille Buchanan Pierce (later Greenway) and Emmett Otho Pierce. He attended Caruthersville High School until enlisting in the United States Navy on January 13, 1945 at the age of 17. He attended Basic Training at Naval Station Great Lakes before being assigned to the destroyer John W. Weeks (DD-701). As a Radioman, he served throughout the Pacific during and following World War II. He was in Nagasaki ten days after the dropping of the atomic bomb. Mr. Pierce received an Honorable Discharge from the Navy on July 23, 1946. After his discharge he attended Southeast Missouri State University on the GI Bill with plans to become a history teacher. While attending SEMO, he was a varsity quarterback and defensive back for the football team and a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. He also played semi-professional baseball for the Budweiser Buds, being paid in beer. The most significant event of his college career was meeting Laura Lee Hoffman on a blind date in April of 1947. They were married on May 29, 1949 at the Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau. After realizing his future was in farming like his father before him, he transferred to Mississippi State University where he graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. After graduation he returned to Southeast Missouri to farm with his father. Mr. Pierce was a fifth generation farmer who continued to farm with his two sons and three grandsons until the day he died. He was passionate about farming the land and was known throughout the state as a successful businessman, community leader and devoted father, grandfather, great grandfather and brother. In his life he improved all the land he touched through land leveling, irrigation and conservation. The Pierce Family Farm is designated as a “Hundred Year Farm” and is now farmed by the seventh generation of family farmers. During his career he established Pierce Farms, Pierce Seed Company and in the past two years of his life, Riverside Rice. He was also a founding member, partner and current president of Caruthersville Gin Company. As a community leader he served on the boards of the Pemiscot County Port Authority, the Federal Land Bank, Missouri Seed Improvement and the Caruthersville School Board where he served as president for many years. He was a member of the Pemiscot County American Legion and Eastwood Memorial United Methodist Church. Mr. Pierce leaves behind his loving wife, Laura, to whom he was outspokenly devoted during their sixty-seven years of marriage. He also leaves behind three children who miss him dearly, Robert Otho Pierce, Jr. (Jan), Jeffery Lee Pierce (Virginia), and Carol Pierce Olson (John). He had six grandchildren to whom he was a role model and caring grandfather, Robert Otho Pierce III (Kara), Andrew Barton Pierce, Mathew Stuart Pierce (Mary Hannah), Erin Elizabeth Pierce, John Pierce Olson and Eric Christian Pierce. He also had two great grandchildren, whom he adored, Madilynn Alexis Pierce and Robert Otho Pierce IV. He is also survived by his two sisters, Helen Pierce Hinchey and Ann Pierce Smith, to whom he was deeply devoted. The loss of this family leader and patriarch is profound in the lives of those he touched. All who knew him and loved him will remember him as a kind and gentle soul with a generous heart. He defined the Greatest Generation. Funeral services were held July 20, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. at the Eastwood Memorial United Methodist Church with Rev. Jerry Mattson officiating. Interment followed in Maple Cemetery. Serving as pall bearers were his six grandchildren: Robert Otho Pierce III, Andrew Barton Pierce, Mathew Stuart Pierce, Erin Elizabeth Pierce, John Pierce Olson, and Eric Christian Olson.

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