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Norman Bruce Pierson
April 22, 1939 ~ November 27, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Norman Bruce Pierson was born on April 22, 1939, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Neil & Lillian Pierson. Norm was the oldest of 4 boys (brothers Wrex, Thomas, and James). Norm attended Western Michigan University for his undergraduate degree in music education. While there, he met Margaret on East Campus in a course called Human Growth and Development. They married on June 23, 1962 (married 61 years). He started teaching in Climax-Scotts, Michigan. He later went on to get his master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan. After receiving his master’s degree and teaching a few more years in Climax-Scotts, he and Margaret, along with their children, Neil, Jean, & Elizabeth, moved to Allegan, Michigan in 1969. Norm taught as the Allegan junior high band director for 25 years. Once retired from teaching, he worked several years at Meyer Music in Holland, Mi.
The above is just the outline of his life. The most important part of Norm’s life was how he touched so many people and left a lasting impression of patience, love, kindness, and music with everyone he met. His influence & examples of these traits radiates through so many of us who mourn the loss of a truly wonderful human being.
Even if you did not play an instrument, he found ways to connect with you. What drew you into Norm was how he was genuinely interested in getting to know you. He always wanted to know if you played an instrument, where you grew up, if you had any children, and so many more questions. Once you answered those questions, you were hooked. You knew you were in the presence of a kind, wonderful soul with whom you would never forget.
Norm never missed an opportunity to tell you he was proud of you. I asked him once why he always told me he was proud of me, even when I hadn’t done anything special. He said, “Well, my dad always told me he was proud of me, and I thought it was important to say that to my children. It always meant it a lot to me.” Telling others that he was proud extended well beyond his own children.
Along with being a band director, Norm did so much more. Here are some of the many groups and programs of which he was a part: The Army National Guard band, Dick Gurn’s Music Makers, several dance bands and pep bands, Allegan Community Players orchestra, barber shop quartet, organized & produced the Allegan Band Follies, directed the Allegan Dixieland Band, directed the Allegan Jr. High marching band, assisted in directing the Allegan High School marching & concert band, organized & helped with the Allegan Band Booth at the Allegan County Fair. He was also a member of the West Michigan New Horizons Music Ensemble. At the Allegan United Methodist Church, he sang and directed choir, directed the bell choir, and assisted in lighting and sound.
Norm was preceded in death by his parents, Neil and Lillian, brothers Wrex and Thomas, and daughter Jean Pierson. He is survived by his wife Margaret, son Neil (Ann), daughter Elizabeth, brother James, and grandchildren Christopher, Catherine, Nicholas, and Alexander Pierson.
There are so many of you who have stories or memories of how Norm touched your life. We want you to be able to share them with us. We are planning a celebration of life in May 2024; details to follow on Facebook and in the Allegan Gazette.