John B. Pierce, Jr., 59, died suddenly on April 10, 2008 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He was senior vice president of Yankee Publishing and group publisher of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
John was born July 4, 1948, in Boston, the son of John B. Pierce, Sr., and the late Helen (Merrill) Pierce, and grew up on their dairy farm in Brentwood, New Hampshire.
An athlete and a scholar, John graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1967 and Dartmouth College in 1971, where he explored his lifelong passions for botany and literature.
He moved to Dublin, New Hampshire, and joined Yankee Magazine in 1973. In 1977, at age 29, he was promoted to managing editor, a position he held during the next 14 years, a time when the magazine received numerous national awards for excellence. In 1992 he brought his keen intellect to the role of publisher, and later group publisher, of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and shepherded that venerable publication until his unexpected death.
In the workplace John led with quiet dignity, wisdom, and a passion for excellence. He was known as the voice of reason, a gifted listener, and after a lengthy discussion, invariably everyone looked to John, awaiting his considered opinion. When word of John’s passing spread through Yankee’s wide community of writers and publishing contacts, the response was that everyone had lost a personal friend. “A good man who always spoke the truth,” one said.
As great as John’s contributions were in his professional life, his lasting legacy remains his family.
He met his wife of 14 years, Sherin Wight, at Yankee and together, with Sherin as publisher and John as group publisher, they built The Old Farmer’s Almanac into a unique and dynamic enterprise, as they made their home and garden a beautiful and restful retreat. His children, Dr. Kristen K. Pierce of Monkton, Vermont, Michael F. Pierce of Dana Point, California, and Alexander Wight Pierce and Jamie Pierce of Dublin, New Hampshire, and grandchildren, Liam and Miles Peterson and Isaac Pierce, remained the core of his life. His quiet strength and grace live on in them.
He is also survived by his father, John B. Pierce, Sr., of Gunnison, Colorado; three brothers, Peter, William, Matt; and a sister, Pamela.
Visiting hours were Wednesday, April 16, 2008, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jellison Funeral Home in Peterborough NH. A memorial service followed by a reception was held on Thursday, April 17, 2008, at 2 p.m. at All Saints Church in Peterborough, NH.
Gifts in his name may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, New Hampshire Office, One Bedford Farms Drive, Suite 105, Bedford, NH 03110.
Click below to read three of John’s articles from Yankee Homes.