Pierce, Ruth


Ruth Pierce, whose wit, humor, and boundless love brought joy to countless others, died of natural causes surrounded by family on September 12. She was 88. Ruth Pierce, née Wilson, was born on August 11, 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio to Lonzo Wilson, a Negro League Baseball player, and Ozella Wilson, a full-time mother and community leader. She spent the summers of her youth on the shores of nearby lakes with her younger brothers, Teddy and Leonard. After graduating from John Adams High School, she married Colon Pierce, and later gave birth to Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Newfields in Indianapolis, and Julie Pierce Williams, Founder and President of Kirtan Management Solutions LLC. For more than 25 years, Ruth worked as a keypunch operator at Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, retiring in 1990. In 1992, she decided to move closer to her daughters to help raise her four grandchildren, who she doted on with peppermints and Brach's Cinnamon Hard Candy from her ever-present purse. Ruth, Budweiser in hand, could light up the stuffiest social settings with one of her uproarious coming-of-age stories, sharp and uncensored observations about the evolving world around her, and hip-loose dance moves. Her family will remember her most for her fierce matriarchal guidance and her mainline to God. She spent her last years playing dime Bingo, winning at pool, and faithfully tuning in to Steve Harvey's Family Feud. She is preceded in death by her parents and brothers, and survived by former husband Colon Pierce, her daughters, grandchildren Daarel and Daana Burnette, and Kira and Tanner Williams, sons-in-law Daarel Burnette and Jonathan B. Williams, friends across the world, and caretakers at Brookdale Senior Living in Kettering, Ohio, who treated her like family. In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations be sent to Huston-Tillotson University for an endowment set up in her name. Details can be found at https://htu.edu/offices/ia/huston-tillotson-university-endowments Services will be private.

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