Ralph Eldo Pierce and his brother Gene Earl Pierce, 1931
Gene and Ralph by the corn crib on the farm in Sugar Creek, Wisconsin
Gene, Earl (their father), Ralph, 1947, on the farm
I mentioned yesterday that my only uncle, Gene Pierce, died in his sleep yesterday. He was 83. Gene was my dad's older brother. When they were younger I didn't think they were anything alike, but after Dad died and Gene lost weight I was struck by how much he looked like Dad, and like Grandpa Pierce.
Gene graduated from Elkhorn High school, and attended Milton Collage, where he played football. After graduation, he served in Korea, then came home and married. He lived most of his adult life in Columbia, South Carolina, and acquired a Southern accent that amused me when I was a child. He had a beautiful voice, and I remember that when Dad died in 1983, Gene sang at the funeral. He worked for a candy brokerage firm, and when we were kids he would pack big boxes of samples for us at Christmas. It's a wonder I grew up with any teeth at all.
Because he and his wife and son lived so far away, and my family didn't like to travel, we only saw him when he came north. But he always was good about keeping in touch with us, and with his childhood friends. The past few years he was a great source of information and stories for me, and was generous with old photographs. I will miss him and his memories.