Food Culinary 16


Virginia "Ginny" Lee Pearce

February 26, 1923 ~ August 20, 2018 (age 95)

Virginia (Ginny)L. Pearce, 95, entered into the Lord’s care on august 20, 2018 surrounded by her daughter, Karen and loving devoted caregivers.

Ginny was born in Cumberland, MD on February 26, 1923 to Russell and Estella (Reed) Copeland.

As the Depression era was in the making, she was surrounded not only by immediate family but also by extended family members on her father’s side.  She loved her grandmother dearly and learned a lot about love and giving.  Unfortunately, she did not really know her grandfather as he was killed while working on the railroad.

Ginny was the second eldest of 3 children.  Her brother, Russell, was 2 years older, while her sister, Mary Jane, was 5 years younger.  She adored and looked up to her brother, especially after her parents divorced and he became the head of the household.

After high school, the family moved to the Bethesda Chevy Chase area to be closer to her mother’s side of the family which also gave much love and support.  The move made Ginny very happy as there wasn’t much to do in Cumberland particularly “job-wise”.  Thus her mother, brother and she were able to find work.

In April 1942, while at an USO dance at the Quantico Marine Base, VA, Ginny met her future husband, Norman Pearce.  They were married in September, 1942 and were happily married for almost 56 years until his passing in April, 1998.  Simply put she was the love of his life and vice versa.  Their daughter, Karen, was born in 1944.

During the war, Norm saw duty in the Pacific including China after the war ended.

It was also during the war that, with great sadness, that Ginny’s brother, Russell was killed while in the Army.  He was killed in October 1944 in France.  His death left a great void, especially for his mother.

Since Norm was a career Marine the family was stationed in various locations all in the U.S. –VA, Atlanta and Albany, GA, Camp LeJeune, NC and finally Camp Pendleton, CA where he retired in 1957.

They settled in San Diego for over 20 years and dearly loved living there.  It was over this time, that Norm went to work as the district manager of the 11th Naval District transportation office and Ginny went to work as a secretary, first with the San Diego schools and then Mesa College. 

In 1975, they both decided to retire and traveled for 3 years using their Recreational Vehicle as their home base.  Then in 1978, they decided to downside and to sell their home in San Diego.   Pricing in San Diego was becoming more expensive so they moved to the Tempe, AZ area.  They bought a lovely home that overlooked the golf course.  Norm loved to golf and now he could play whenever he wanted.  Ginny then became interested in golf as well and joined two women’s groups.  Here, they developed lifelong friendships, sometimes going on golf excursions with 4 or 5 other couples.  Ginny also took up sewing, knitting, pottery, and even Bridge.

In 1997, Norm developed Dementia.  During this time, Ginny taught her daughter much about love and caregiving.  It was also during this time she showed her daughter how to pick herself up and go on with her life.  Ginny mourned the loss of her beloved husband but didn’t feel sorry for herself, nor did she become inactive.

From 1998 – 2005, Ginny would visit her daughter frequently as they always had a strong bond.  In 2005, at her daughter’s invitation, she sold the home in Arizona and moved back to San Diego to live with her daughter.

Ginny’s love of music began during the Big Band Era.  When the bands stopped in town she would go and see them.  During 1998 and on, Ginny and her daughter took advantage of the Summer Pops, the Symphony, musicals and various artists.  Such as Andrea Bocelli, Neil Diamond, and her favorite, Al Martino.  She saw him every time he came to Las Vegas.

Ginny and her daughter also got hooked on the Padres becoming season ticket holders for several years.  They had so much fun during the ’98 playoffs and the World Series.

Since 1998 the world of travel opened up for Ginny.  Her husband’s idea of travel left much to be desired.  Norm would only travel to places he could drive.  Ginny and her daughter traveled as much as they could.  They traveled to many cities in California but also internationally.  They traveled to Italy, Tuscany being her favorite city.  They took a Mediterranean cruise, went to Hawaii and Maui.  Her awe inspiring trip to the Holy Land was in 2011.  She loved that trip and even celebrated her 88th birthday and walking in and out of Petra, Jordan.  She wanted so much to repeat that trip.  However, her health since 2015 prevented her from making such trips.  She had developed non-diabetic neuropathy in her legs and had a lumber procedure in 2015 that took a lot out of her.

In 2007, Ginny and her daughter joined St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway.  The congregation was open and welcoming, which was very important to Ginny as her views of life issues became more encompassing and open the older she became.

Ginny suffered several mini-strokes on June 1, 2018 and was placed in home hospice with Sharp Hospice.  She received wonderful care.  She had such loving caregivers, especially the last month of her life.  After the mini-strokes she wasn’t expected to live much longer, nor be able to do much.  She was walking with a walker and feeding herself within a week of being home.

Unfortunately, she suffered another stroke on the 11th and 12th of August, but hung in for another 8 days.  During that time her wonderful caregivers cared for her around the clock with a lot of dignity.  Therefore, she went peacefully with dignity and without pain surrounded by her loved ones and in her home.


Survived by:  Daughter Karen Pearce of San Diego, CA; Nephew and his wife, Robert and Barbara Pearce of Mechanicsburg,Pennsylvania; Niece, Tracy (Robert) Schafer and their son Timothy of Port Deposit, Maryland; Husband of late Niece, Bob Lamas, Rockville, Maryland; Niece, Elaine Peace Burns of Millsboro, Delaware.

Predeased by: Mother, Estelle Copeland and Father, Russell Copeland; Sister, Mary Jane Scholar and Niece Diane Lamas

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