David W. Pierson, 72, of Hopkinton passed away April 27 at Milford Hospital after three years at Golden Pond Assisted Living. Born Sept. 11, 1947, in Waterbury, Connecticut, he was the son of the late Edith (Wilber) and David D. Pierson. He lived most of his life in his home in Maynard.
Raised in Woodbury Connecticut, Dave was involved in Scouting, 4-H, and building, tinkering with and fixing all manner of things, particularly electrical or mechanical. After graduating from Waterbury Technical College, he moved to Massachusetts where he worked for Digital Equipment Corp., building and maintaining computers for 30 years, traveling to Scotland and Moscow. After DEC closed, he joined the USPS, initially delivering mail and later applying his talents as a technician maintaining large mail sorting machines.
An avid railway fan, he gathered with friends on Sunday mornings to watch trains. His home, a museum of the history of all things mechanical, electronic or military, was filled with books and ephemera documenting the development of the modern age. Collections of yankee push screwdrivers, vintage radios, phonographs, electrical meters, operation/technical manuals for early diesel-electric locomotives and signal equipment, postcards and even early vintage computers reflected his fondness for flea markets. Items from his shelves now are in the collections of the New England Museum of Wireless and Steam in Greenwich, Rhode Island, and the Boston Museum of Science. Photography was another hobby, resulting in a modest collection of antique cameras, both 8 mm and still. His library included near-complete collections of Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys. His interests in print ranged from comic books to the Proceedings of American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Miscellany included early TV and radio equipment, parts, pieces, technical drawings, diagrams and manuals, all of which he had mentally cataloged. He could tell you just where to find whatever might satisfy your interest.
David was an avid and expert fireworks enthusiast. He edited the newsletter of the New Hampshire Pyrotechnics Association for many years. He tried never to miss the annual conventions of the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI), traveling west from New England on his motorcycle. At these meetings he was much more than a spectator, pitching in wherever there was work to be done, entertaining the crew with jokes along the way. His standing in this fireworks community was shown by his repeated appointment as “B-line boss,” responsible for the safe handling and firing of the largest aerial shells.
A master wordsmith, his puns comprised a significant portion of his jokes and crossword puzzles his attention. Speculation has arisen that his strategy of following a few bad jokes with a good one led to more laughter at the good one. His breadth of knowledge sometimes left listeners missing the point, and he then would need enlighten us ordinary folks.
For Dave, summer vacation was riding his motorcycle westward to Sturgis, South Dakota, or beyond. BMW awarded him a certificate attesting to more than 200,000 miles on the road. He visited his aunt and uncle in Connecticut before and after his trips west. He often joined his parents on Star Island, off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, pitching in with the engineering or carpentry crew there. Dedicated to his parents in their retirement, it is doubtful he ever missed a Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday with them once they returned ashore in their 70s from their year-round life on Star Island.
Recently remembered as a gentleman, which he certainly was, he also was a gentle man, conscious and considerate of the feelings of others. His kindness, humor, warmth and encyclopedic intellect lives on in those who knew him. Dave is survived by his siblings, William of Glen Burnie, Maryland, Andrew of Springvale, Maine, Margery Dixon of Jarretsville, Maryland, and Janaki of Woodbury, Connecticut. His four nieces, Sepedeh, Neda, Rosanna and Samantha, and two nephews Adaon and Anerin, also survive him.
Dave’s request was to be cremated. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcomed to the following charities (we recommend mailing checks so your full contribution is received by the non-profit):
1. Maynard Historical Society, 195 Main St., Maynard, MA 01754.
2. The Lakota of North Dakota, via One Spirit (onespiritlakota.org) or P.O. Box 3209, Rapid City, SD 57709.
3. Star Island (starisland.org), Morton-Benedict House 30 Middle St., Portsmouth, NH 03801.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chesmore Funeral Home of Hopkinton.
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