H.B. Pierce Jr.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2007

BERRYVILLE—Lt. Col. H.B. “Hammer” Pierce Jr., 85, died Dec. 21, 2007, in Leesburg.

Mr. Pierce was born in Knoxville, Tenn. Sept. 19, 1922, the only child of Hersie Beale Pierce Sr. and Ruth Jones Roberts.

He moved to Windsor as a young child and had been known as “Hammer” since his days as a Boy Scout.

He married Rachel Ann Howell Sept. 17, 1948, at Windsor Baptist Church in Windsor.

Survivors include his loving and devoted wife of 59 years, Rachel Ann Howell; daughter, Rachel Pierce Newell and husband Wayne of Leesburg; son, Rodney Beale Pierce and wife Mary Sue of Berryville; four grandchildren, Margaret Davis Sullivan of Reston, Mary Darden Lentine of South Riding, Va., Morgan Beale Pierce of Baltimore, Md. and Lindsay Sue Pierce of Reston; three stepgrandchildren, Dr. Mark Unverzagt of Albuquerque,

N.M., Ginger O’Meara of Charles Town, W.Va. and Linda Andrews of Winchester; and 11 stepgreat-grandchildren.

He graduated from Windsor High School in 1940 and attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute where he studied agricultural economics.

His time at VPI was interrupted by World War II and he served the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 in the European Theater as an ack ack gunner. He graduated from VPI in 1947.

His services were called upon again in 1950 at the beginning of the U.S. involvement in the Korean War. He was stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma where he trained new recruits.

He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1970 after 20 years of service as an officer of the U.S. Army and Reserves. He was retired at age 60 in 1982.

He worked as a financial advisor for I.D.S. and American Express from the 1960s until his retirement in 1998 and will be remembered by his clients for his warm smile, firm handshake and gift bags of Virginia apples. Hammer was the voice of the Clarke County Eagle football team from the 1960s to the 1980s.

He served on the Clarke County Board of Supervisors from 1964 to 1968. In addition, he was a past commander of the American Legion, and member of the local VFW, Ruritan, Jaycees and Lions clubs.

He was a member of Berryville Baptist Church, where he served on the Board of Trustees and was a deacon. He was also a Freemason for more than 50 years.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Enders & Shirley Funeral Home in Berryville.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Berryville Baptist Church with Dr. William Ingram officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to HopeTree Family Services, Development Department, P.O. Box 849, Salem, VA 24153 in Hammer’s name to provide support services for at-risk children and adults with developmental disabilities.

He attempted to emulate Will Rogers in many ways, and will be remembered as a man who “never met a man he didn’t like.”