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After a long illness, Ellen Irene Pierce, 94, passed peacefully on March 7, 2023. Born in Rover,Missouri on January 29, 1929, she was the ninth child of Clyde Everett Trantham and Genevieve (Deininger) Trantham, farmers in Oregon County.
Ellen “Memi” was one of a kind. Once you met her you never forgot. She was tough, quickwitted and spunky. Tall and athletic, she was asked to play varsity volleyball in her small town of Thomasville while still in the 7th grade. She had to pass an 8th grade equivalency test to qualify. As the volleyball seasons progressed, rival teams eventually called her “grandma” because she was on the team so long.
Ellen worked retail in West Plains, MO where she met her school sweetheart, Edward Pierce. They married at the old Trantham farmstead in Rover, MO, on June 5, 1949. They labored
together at the Pierce family dairy farm near Birch Tree, MO. They earned the Balance Farming Award for progressive farming practices while actively serving as 4H Volunteer leaders and investing in the lives of FFA students.
In the early 1960’s Ellen farmed while Ed continued his education at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University). After graduation he began working at MSU in the Department of Admissions and Records, advancing to become the Director of that department. During Ed’s career at MSU, Ellen returned to college to pursue her own degree, but raising her young family became a primary goal and took precedence over those endeavors. Ellen always believed in giving voice to women, and giving back to the community. This included the Missouri Democrats, The MSU Dames (where she initiated a women’s scholarship program) and many others. Edward and Ellen retired to Arizona, built a home in Prescott, but eventually moved down to a warmer climate on Greenhurst in Sun City. They were great years where both were involved in bowling, lapidary, and specifically, the Sun City Prides. She was recognized as an amazing cook, felt strongly about a healthy diet always saying “you have to eat from all the colors of the rainbow, not just this comfort food.” She loved the color purple and blue Christmas lights. Ellen was an avid traveler and visited all 50 states with her sweetheart and husband of 62 years, Edward.
Ellen was preceded in death by her husband Edward, her parents and 8 other siblings. Survivor siblings include a sister, Mayme Hull, of Houston TX and sister, Tildy Fischer, of Ozark MO. Ellen’s children include two sons and one daughter, eldest son Lane, and his wife, Cindy of Springfield, and their children, Elissa Wright and Cameron, Aaron and wife Cassie and son Ashley of Denver CO. The younger son, Alan and wife Charlotte of Edmond OK, have 6 children. Dave and wife, Tabitha of Chestnutridge, Laurie, Kenneth and wife Sarah, Jacob and wife Juanita, of OKC, John and wife Tiffany, of Ozark, and Joshua. Ellen’s youngest daughter Sheri Pierce, MD with husband Keith Pierson, live in Wisconsin and have a son, Anthony of Phoenix. Ellen was blessed with 11 wonderful great-grandchildren.
We are all sure she is living it up in heaven right now, reunited with her beloved Ed and telling everyone the correct way to make omelets. Ellen wishes the family to celebrate her life by gathering with good friends to reminisce. A celebration is planned for Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at a place to be determined.