Thomas “Tom” Pierce, 76, of Rochester
ROCHESTER — Thomas “Tom” Pierce, 76, of Rochester died peacefully at his home on a sunny Nov. 8 with his wife Ann “Sandy” by his side. He and Sandy were married 47 years, and he told her recently that marrying her was the most important thing he ever did.
Tom was born on March 16, 1945, at Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, N.H., to Margaret and Leslie Dean Pierce. Following the death of his mother in 1953, Tom’s Aunt Helen Pierce moved back to Rochester to help raise Tom and his older sisters. Tom and Helen had a very special relationship until her passing in 1984. Tom lived in Rochester most of his life and considered his community a large extension of his family.
Tom graduated from Rochester High School in 1963. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology for a short while before he was drafted into the Army in 1966. He was stationed in Germany for two years.
Upon returning to Vermont, Tom worked for CVPS as a lineman, where in 1970 he was seriously injured while at work. Tom would battle the effects of his injuries for the rest of his life, but he never complained. He rarely asked for help, and he surprised everyone who knew him with his ability to overcome adversity and his positive outlook.
Tom met Sandy while he was in high school, but it wasn’t until 1974 that he and Sandy married. They celebrated in Rochester and took their honeymoon at the Lake Mansfield Trout Club, one of Tom’s favorite places. In 1975-6, Tom and Sandy built their home on Bethel Mountain in Rochester where he lived until the end.
In 1980, Tom and Sandy purchased the Rochester Electric Light and Power Company from the Pierce family estate. Rochester Electric was founded in 1897 by the Pierces and remained in the family until Tom and Sandy sold it to CVPS in 2006. Tom and Sandy owned and operated the small utility that served only Rochester for over 36 years. They did this with the support of Richard Curtis and Frank Severy, both of whom Tom loved very much.
Upon retiring, Tom and Sandy explored the entire country and beyond in search of pristine rivers for fly fishing and gold panning, antique car shows, and to visit friends and family.
Tom had so many interests and hobbies. He loved Vermont and to be outdoors. He hunted, fished, split wood, drove his old cars with the top down, skied, hiked, and shaped the landscape with his tractor(s). Tom also enjoyed following the passions of his children and grandchildren from basketball games and soccer matches to musical performances; he wanted to be there. Tom had a passion for antique vehicles and spent a great deal of time researching, collecting, and restoring his old cars.
Those who knew Tom will recall his incredible sense of humor and aptitude for a practical joke. The stories are endless, and it’s impossible to think of Tom (even in his passing) without smirking just a little bit. We would be remiss if we didn’t try to get you to laugh upon reading his obituary. Tom loved to tell of Veron Lyon petting a skunk, thought to be a kitty cat. On the basketball court he was notorious for grabbing the shorts of the shooter about to jump — you can imagine the result. He often recalled the wet chickens he introduced to his daughter’s tented birthday sleepovers. Annually, he turned the house into a deer camp and would send his buddies on wild deer chases around the property. His inherited baldness was a trademark, the brunt of many jokes; and many will remember the silly hats he wore with artificial hair on top.
Tom is survived by his wife and their children: Dean Pierce (Ioana) of Knoxville, Tenn., and Andrea “Andy” Murray (Chris) of Middlebury, Vt.; and three grandsons: Pierce Murray, Jackson Murray, and a namesake Thomas Pierce.
Tom is also survived by his high-spirited big sisters and brothers-in-law: Nancy and Charlie Woolley and Judy Pierce and Bill Harvey and their children and grandchildren, as well as Sandy’s brother and sister-in-law Jon and Karen Bindrum and their sons Jeremiah and Adam.
Tom will be missed terribly by his immediate family and his many, many cousins and friends.
The Pierces are incredibly grateful for the friendship and care of Jan McCann, Maritza Martinez Correro, Jakey Twitchell, and Ashley Kelley. Thank you also to Dr. Erwin Lange, HOPE, Granville First Response, and WRVA for their kindness and responsiveness.
A spirited celebration of Tom’s life is being planned for Summer 2022 and will be open to the community. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please consider a contribution in Tom’s name to the Yellow House Community of Middlebury, www.yellowhousecommunity.com, the Quintown Senior Center seniorcenter.us/sc/quin_town_center_for_senior_citizens_hancock_vt, or Pierce Hall Community Center www.piercehall.org/.
Online condolences may be left at www.dayfunerals.com. Arrangements are by the Day Funeral Home in Randolph.◊
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