Rudy Pierce passed away at Cates’ House on 7/9/2022 at the age of 96. He was preceded in death by a newborn son, Scott Pierce, his parents, Robert & Nancy Pierce, his grandson, Sean Whalen, his cherished wife, Carol Pierce, and his grandson, Sean Whalen (Katrina) of Cary, NC. He is survived by his loving and devoted daughter, Linda Pierce Whalen of Ocala; two granddaughters, Stacey (Steve) Rauch of Lancaster, OH and Kathleen Whalen of Nashville, TN; and one grandson, Trevor Ford of Akron, OH.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and served three years’ active duty. During his military service his duty station was loading missiles that shot down enemy planes. He was never supplied with any type of ear protection and gradually suffered a 70% hearing loss.
After the war, he graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio while working full-time at B.F. Goodrich in Akron. After graduation, he moved to Cleveland and was hired by Reliance Electric in the Personnel Department. The rest of his career he was self-employed: owning a laundromat; a “Mr. Donut” franchise; and a Lawn-A-Mat franchise on both the east and west sides of Cleveland. He retired at 65 and called Marion County “home” for 30 years, most of which having been spent in Dunnellon.
After he was introduced to the game of golf, his love affair with the game began and endured until he was forced to “withdraw” at the age of 93 due to balance issues. Rudy was thrilled to have been given two free tickets to The Masters in 2001, the year that Tiger Woods made history as the first African-American man to not only be “allowed” entry onto the grounds of The Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta, GA, but also to win that prestigious tournament. Tiger went on to be the first black golfer to win all four “majors” consecutively that season.
The only thing sweeter than that, was when he and Linda witnessed his grandson, Trevor, make a hole-in-one, to which “Grandpa Rudy” responded, “Hey ! I’ve been golfing for 40 years and I’ve never made a hole in one,” a typical response for anyone who knew Rudy. That must have been all the incentive he needed, as he later went on to make more than a few of his own. We were thrilled to have witnessed that together.
In accordance with his wishes, there will be no visitation or funeral service. A private burial will take place at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.
Condolences may be sent to Linda P. Whalen, 1661 SE 31st St. Apt 322, Ocala, FL 34471. Donations will be gratefully appreciated by his family to Hospice of Marion County, 3231 SW 34th Ave, Ocala, FL 34474.