TRAVERSE CITY — After a lifetime of urging his skiers and soccer players to “go hard” to the finish, ski instructor and Petoskey soccer program founder, son, father, brother, uncle and dear friend, James “Jim” D. Pierce arrived at the finish line of this life on Dec. 4, 2013, surrounded by his children and loving caregivers at Lighthouse Rehab after a year-long battle with complications from a brain injury.
Born in Kalamazoo on Aug. 12, 1950, Jim was always full of spirit. From riding his tricycle down the school steps while shouting his sisters’ names, to hopping a morning flight to Boston simply to catch a Tigers game and lunch, to traveling across the world and making friends at every port, Jim is best remembered for his contagiously friendly nature and love for life.
Jim is survived by his sons, James (Cynthia) Pierce and Todd Pierce; the daughter he never knew he wanted but got anyway, Mellisa (Joshua) Smith; grandsons, Conner Pierce and Calvin Smith; sisters, Nancy (John) Knickerbocker and Ann (Ed) Vitt; countless cousins, nieces, and nephews, dear friends, including the Masters, Reisig and Martell families; Joyce (John) Atkinson; many friends within the airline industry; anyone who ever rode up a chairlift with him; and his best girl, Coco.
Jim was preceded in death by parents, Marson and Betty Pierce and Jan and Steve Beer; and furry friend, Molly.
You lived hard, loved hard and will be missed dearly by all whose lives you touched. May your heavenly ski runs be steep, deep and on untracked champagne powder on a bluebird day.
Donations may be made in Jim’s name, in lieu of flowers, to Little Traverse Conservancy, 3264 Powell Road, Harbor Springs, MI 49740; or Petoskey Winter Sports Park, City of Petoskey, c/o Petoskey Winter Sports Park, 101 E. Lake St., Petoskey, MI 49770.