Proud Marine, husband, father and grandfather, farmer, banker, politician, civic leader and life-long harness horse enthusiast H. Phil Pearce, 91, of Cloverland Farm, Hawthorne Township, White County, Ill., died Friday, Feb. 28, at Hamilton Pointe in Newburgh, Ind.
Phil was born January 3, 1923 at Carmi, IL, the son of Tice Albert Pearce and Helen Hanna Pearce. His abiding passion was for racing and breeding Standardbred trotters and pacers. Racing under the green and white Cloverland Farm silks, he stood stallions, had as many as 70 broodmares, and raced primarily trotters throughout Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana. He eventually partnered with Buddy Simpson's Fairfield, IL BattleShoe Farms with Phil handling the breeding and Buddy the training and driving.
Phil served as Secretary/Treasurer and longtime active member of the Egyptian Colt Stakes, and as President of the Illinois Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association and the Illinois Harness Horseman's Association. In addition, Phil followed the Hanna family tradition of serving on the Board of the White County Fair including long stints as Speed Superintendent and President. He also lent his expertise at building lightning fast racecourses to Midwest Harness and other area horse tracks.
His family describes Phil as a most kind, generous and gentle man to whom family and community were of upmost importance. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Carol (Winchester) Pearce. He is also survived by his daughter Drue Pearce and her husband Michael F G Williams of Anchorage, AK and Accokeek, MD, his stepchildren Charles Lynn Siegel and his wife Sandra of Evansville, Shannon Duncan and her husband Ron of Evansville, and Sherri Winchester of Frederick, MD. He had 7 grandchildren, Tate Hanna Pearce-Williams, Chris and Evan Siegel, Malynda Howard and her husband Pat, Alisha Duncan, Kyle Scales and Koltin Gibbons and three Howard great-grandchildren, Danny, Paige and Aiden. Phil was preceded in death by his Mother, Helen Hanna Pearce, his father, Tice Albert Pearce, two daughters, Ann and Jill, with Julia Detroy Pearce from whom he was later divorced, his second wife, Wanda Chapman Pearce, and his Uncle, William Philip "Uncle Bill" Hanna.
The family would like to thank his many, many friends and colleagues for their generosity during Phil's illness. Their thoughts and prayers sustained Phil and his family during his final weeks of life. Jeff Whitler, Kent Williams, Frank Musgrave, Kenny Winter, Dr. Jim Zieren, Jeff Bohleber, Gary Bartley, Jr., Brenda Ryder, and Laurie Frazier deserve special mention for their help and support. Thank you also to Father Ted Temple for his visits and prayers and to the nursing staff at Hamilton Pointe's Unit 700 for their compassion. They include Rebecca, Faith, Josh, Julie, Jayne, Julea and Roshaun.
Funeral services were held Thursday, March 6, 2014 at Big Prairie United Methodist Church in Hawthorne Township. Memorial contributions may be made to Big Prairie United Methodist Church or Shriners Childrens Hospital of St. Louis and will be accept at Campbell Funeral Home in Carmi. (Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association)