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James “Jim” Purl Pierce

Posted October 05, 2012 in Obituaries, Perry

February 14, 1936- October 2, 2012

Jim Pierce

James “Jim” Purl Pierce, 76, of Atlantic formerly of Minburn, Iowa passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, October 2, 2012 at the Atlantic Nursing and Rehab Center in Atlantic, Iowa. Services were 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 6, 2012 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Perry. Father Zach Kautzky officiated with Jan Pattee as the musician. Musical selections included; How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace. Pallbearers were: Steve Fagen, Michael Fagen, Robert Pierce, Michael Pierce, Greg Kautzky and Jerald Hansen. Honorary Pallbearers were: Marvin Shirley and Jon West. Burial was in Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry.

Jim was born February 14, 1936 on the family farm at Minburn, Iowa. He was the son of Purl and Martelle (McCarthy) Pierce.

Jim arrived during some of the harshest weather conditions ever recorded in the state: the great blizzard in February with 10-15 foot snowdrifts that clogged roads and isolated rural communities; followed by a record-breaking heat wave in early-July with daytime temperatures averaging 108 degrees. His parents often reminisced how they would dip their infant son in a pan of water to keep him cool during his first summer.

Jim was a life long farmer on the Pierce Century Farm in the Minburn area. During his youth, he was very active in 4-H and served as president of the Dallas County 4-H program. He graduated from Minburn High School in 1953 and attended Iowa State College on a 4-H scholarship.

Jim was honored as the outstanding 4-H Club member in the county in 1956-1957. He was a member of judging teams while in 4-H. He participated in the crops and grain judging team at the Iowa State Fair and also was a member of the county livestock judging team. He received other county, state and national awards for his 4-H work. In 1958, he was awarded the Dallas County soybean grower award and placed second in the Iowa Master Soybean Grower Contest.

Jim served in the Army in the 4th Armored Division and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and later at Ulm, Germany. While overseas, Jim took a two-week leave from the US Army and traveled throughout Europe, visiting: Luxembourg; Belgium; Holland; Denmark; England and France. His excursion was chronicled in the Minburn Booster, as it was quite an adventure for the hometown boy who had seen more of the world than most. Jim was honorably discharged from the service in 1960 and returned to the family farm.

Jim lived the majority of his life in a whitewashed farmhouse built by his father just outside of Minburn, Iowa. He was actively involved in his local parish, St. Patrick’s Church. He enjoyed working puzzles, playing cards, socializing with friends, assisting with extended bicycling events, and watching all the colorful birds that gathered regularly at the feeders he placed around the yard. Jim was a kind, unassuming man with a pleasant manner and warm heart.

Jim married Phyllis (Frisbie) Fries at the Zion Lutheran Church in Atlantic on June 15, 1996. The couple settled on Phyllis’ family home place NE of Atlantic. They took many trips together including vacations to Branson, MO; Texas, Oklahoma, and Chicago, IL. They especially enjoyed gardening together; attending auctions; and hosting parties in their home.

Left to cherish his memory are his survivors: his wife Phyllis; sister-in-law Lynore Pierce of Urbandale, Iowa; brother-in-law James Frisbie; his nieces Lisa (Steven) Durels of New York City, Meg (Mark) Taylor of Aldie, Virginia, Kathryn Pierce of San Tan Valley, Arizona and Jennifer (Rudy) Sotelo of Gilbert, Arizona; Rory (Kyle) Rush of Omaha, Nebraska; Megan (Tyler) Warrior of Bridgewater, Iowa; and nephews, Michael (Denise) Pierce of Vernon Hills, Illinois and Robert (Laura) Pierce of Scottsdale, Arizona; and many great nieces and nephews.

His parents and brother Gerald “Jerry” Pierce of Urbandale preceded him in death.

A memorial has been established in Jim’s name and may be left at the funeral home.

Roland Funeral Service in Atlantic, Iowa and Murdock Funeral Home in Perry, Iowa are caring for Jim’s family and the arrangements. Condolences may be left in his guest books at or at

Information provided by:
Murdock Funeral Home
1420 Warford Street
Perry, IA 50220

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