Mr. Pierce was born in Roda, Virginia on July 10, 1930, the son of Charles Pierce and Barbara Baker Pierce, and was the third of six children. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by two brothers, Billy Pierce and Wayne Pierce; and one sister, Vivian Smith.
Mr. Pierce received his Bachelor’s Degree from East Tennessee State University and his degree of a six year study in Chamber of Commerce management school. He was a United States Army veteran, having been in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. After college was complete, he taught school and wasa curator for the State of Tennessee Arts and Crafts Alliance. Following that, his career took the direction of executive director of the Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce for several years and on to a twenty year executive director of the Johnson City/ Washington County Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber received its accreditation from the United States Chamber of Commerce under his tenure. He took the membership from 345 to over 900 at the time of his retirement. He increased the budget from $65,000.00 to over $297,000.00, also organizing the convention and visitors bureau, “Clean Team”, monthly membership breakfast programs and “Crime Stoppers”, all of which stand today. He also served as president of Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives for 1986 and 1987.
Mr. Pierce received the governor’s outstanding Tennessean Award and Tennessee Governor’s Colonel Award. Our region would not be the same without his diligent work throughout the communities. He was faithful to his Lord and a member of Caldwell Springs Baptist Church, where he held many positions, teacher of Sunday school and training union, superintendent and historian. He was an avid golfer, gardener and loved to travel.
Mr. Pierce is survived by his beloved wife, Phyllis Pierce and her daughter, whom he considered his own, Natasha Gilliand and husband Tim, of Louisiana; by his dear sisters, June Shelton and Sharon Shell; and by a number of nieces and nephews.
A celebration graveside service will be conducted at 2:00 PM on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at Happy Valley Memorial Park, under the direction of Dr. William “Bill” Duncan, pastor. Honorary pallbearers will be his brothers from Phi Sigma Pi. Those wishing to attend the service are asked to meet at Tetrick Funeral Home at 1:15 PM to go in procession.
Those who desire to make memorial contributions, may do so to Caldwell Springs Baptist Church of Elizabethton.
Online condolences may be shared with the family on our website, www.tetrickfuneralhome.com
Mr. James Thurman Pierce and his family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton. Office 423-542-2232, service information line, 423-543-4917.