Joe Pearce

It seems that I write far too many obituaries for Texas cavers.  While a few 
die unfortunately young, it’s a sad fact that Texas’ early cavers were born 
prior to WWII and they are now in their 8th and 9th decades.  Time will have 
its way.   It has been my good fortune to have been acquainted with many of 
these pioneer Texas cavers.  For those who were special friends I usually 
submitted at least a short obituary so that their passing would not go 
unnoticed.  A. Richard “Dick” Smith, Jack C. Burch, Bart Crisman, Katherine 
Goodbar, Jimmy Walker, and James Estes are good examples of those I recognized 
for leading us in earlier times.  In earlier years, those obituaries rightfully 
appeared in the mostly regular issues of the Texas Caver.*  These days, we are 
reduced to the very informal bulletin board.

It is the nature of our fraternity that we have short memories and scant 
appreciation for prior generations.  I did not comment about the passing of 
Bill Mahavier, Jerry Chastain, Claude Head, Danny Sheffield, Ollene Bundrant, 
Elizabeth Smith, Art Simpson, Roger Sorrels, and others, unfortunately, almost 
too numerous to list.  Moreover, not many senior Texas cavers attend the 
various caver functions with the possible exception of the TCR.  Their names 
and contributions are all too easily forgotten.

With that preamble, I come to a recent death I cannot ignore.  Joe C. Pearce 
passed away January 20, 2018 just three days short of his 91st birthday.  His 
death was mentioned in a recent TexasCavers posting although unfortunately with 
a relict topic line.  Although Joe’s health kept him in the background of Texas 
caving in his later years, he was a TexasCavers subscriber and remained 
interested in caving.  He was NSS #2903.   Some of you may recall meeting Joe 
at the 1984 TSA Convention in Burnet or the 2004 TCR at Flat Creek.  Joe was 
one of the founders of the original Balcones Grotto and a principal in getting 
the Texas Caver off the ground.    He was listed as one of the production staff 
on the masthead of issue #1 (October 1955).  That historic first issue carried 
a nice essay about early Grotto lore from Joe’s memory.  Joe was far more than 
a production staff member of the Texas Caver.  He was a faithful contributor.  
Joe was an early advocate for safe and conservation-minded caving.  He authored 
many Caver articles about conservation and cave owner relationship.  Joe’s bio 
appeared in the May 1956 Caver.  You can find several references to Joe Pearce 
in 50 Years of Texas Caving.

With Joe’s passing, we are diminished.

===Carl Kunath

*Kudos to John Spence for producing the August 1985 Texas Caver, a special 30th 
anniversary issue that included a nice retrospective of the first issue of the 
Texas Caver, an interview with Bill Russell, and other worthwhile material.  
Spence’s issue could well serve as a journalistic model of what the Texas Caver 
could be with every issue.

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
Texascavers mailing list | | Archives:

Reply via email to