Thelma Jean Atwood Pearce of Alpine, Texas passed away peacefully on April 15, 2021 in Smyer, Texas after a short illness. She had 93 years of active life starting in Edinburg, Texas where she grew up on a farm with 5 siblings, which have all preceded her. Jean raised chickens on the farm and sold eggs, spurring her early interest in business. She had a job at the cotton gin, weighing, shipping and keeping records for the company, and eventually starting her own cotton brokerage. In high school, Jean was a cheerleader and a member of the Sergeanettes, and graduated from Edinburg High School at 16 and Jr. College at 18. After the war, at age 20, she married Allan Ray Pearce, returning from the Marine Corps. They moved to College Station so Allan could attend Texas A & M. At some point, Jean’s interests turned to elementary education and now, with four children, earned a masters degree in Administration. She taught her children (and others) to read, swim, succeed, and to always be confident in themselves. She was forever true to her faith in Jesus.
She flourished in the education system as a teacher and, later, principal, receiving accolades from the Harlingen ISD. She spoke of the importance of education long after she retired and moved to Alpine, Texas, where son, Clifton, had already set up a medical clinic. She proceeded to operate the facility for many years, even after Clifton’s untimely death.
Jean was always busy. She was active in First Baptist Church in whatever town she was living. For several churches she served as Sunday School teacher or superintendent or Building and Grounds leader or in mission education. Alpine First Baptist was her last and most lengthy place of service.
Jean was also civic-minded, serving as chairman of Big Bend Regional Hospital District for many years, and she thoroughly enjoyed Delta Kappa Gamma education sorority.
Jean always maintained that her favorite times were when her extended family would come to town for the Alpine Fourth of July festivities. Over the years, both children and grandchildren (following her late husband’s example) have played in the community band at the park, after the parade.
She is survived by three children, seven grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, who lovingly refer to her as Afene.
Jean’s wishes were, in lieu of flowers, to donate to the First Baptist Church in Alpine, Texas or plant a tree in her memory. Jean loved trees.
Memorial Service will be on Saturday, May 8th at 10:30 a.m. and interment will follow at Elm Grove Cemetery.
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