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Obituary for Wesley Pearson

Dr. Wesley Andrew Pearson, 85, died peacefully at his home in Northfield on Friday, November 3, with family at his side. Born to Emil and Edith Pearson on July 19, 1932, Wes was the middle child of five and grew up with his siblings on the family farm near Vasa, Minnesota. Wes was baptized and confirmed at Vasa Lutheran Church. He graduated from Red Wing High School in 1950 and from St. Olaf College in 1954, both times as class valedictorian. He pursued his love of learning further at the University of Minnesota, earning a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1958. […]

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Dr. Wesley Andrew Pearson, 85, died peacefully at his home in Northfield on Friday, November 3, with family at his side.
Born to Emil and Edith Pearson on July 19, 1932, Wes was the middle child of five and grew up with his siblings on the family farm near Vasa, Minnesota. Wes was baptized and confirmed at Vasa Lutheran Church. He graduated from Red Wing High School in 1950 and from St. Olaf College in 1954, both times as class valedictorian. He pursued his love of learning further at the University of Minnesota, earning a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1958. In 1971 he married Emilie Rae Fallstrom of Buhl, Minnesota, at Boe Memorial Chapel at St. Olaf College.
Wes taught chemistry at St. Olaf from 1958, when he accepted a one-year offer to fill a sabbatical vacancy, until 2015, when he retired. Throughout his 57-year career at St. Olaf, he loved his calling in life: to think with students about God’s marvelous creation and to help them discern their own vocations. As a faculty member, Wes was involved in the life of the college in many ways. He founded the Health Professions Committee at St. Olaf, which became a model for colleges around the country, and he was recognized with the Minnesota Health Care Career Award in 2012. He was one of the founding members of the Midstates (Pew) Consortium for Math and Science and served as St. Olaf’s representative to the Consortium for many years. From 1984 until 2008, he served as St. Olaf’s faculty athletic representative to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), and in 2009 he received the MIAC Distinguished Service Award. From 1967 until 2012, he was the official time-keeper at St. Olaf football and basketball games, a service to the college that was recognized in 2012 with the St. Olaf Athletics Service Award. In 1973 he began teaching organic chemistry during summer school, establishing a program that he would lead for each of the following 41 summers. For his contributions to chemistry at St. Olaf, the Wes and Rae Pearson Endowed Fund for Pre-Health and Chemistry at St. Olaf College was established in May 2017.
Although his professional accomplishments were numerous, he will be remembered most as someone who humbly served others. He is remembered by students and colleagues for his warm and generous spirit, for helping thousands of students find their vocation and live into it, and for dedicating his life to the mission of the college he loved for so many years. He is remembered by friends at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield, where he was a long-time member, for his many years of service as an usher and as a mentor to confirmation students. And he is remembered by his family as a devoted husband, who worked with his wife Rae to build a caring and nurturing home for their family, and also as a kind and loving father, who always made room in his busy schedule to attend his kids’ concerts and games, to play ball with them or take them fishing – as someone who taught them, by his gentle example, how to be a good and faithful person.
Wes was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Emmett, and his sister Miriam Johnston. He is survived by his brothers Merle and Curtis, his wife Rae, his sons Mark (and wife Karen) and Paul (and fiancée Alyssa Cheadle), and by his grandchildren Anna and Joshua. A visitation will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 12. A funeral service will be held at St. John’s at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, November 13, 2017. Inurnment was in St. John’s Columbarium.
Memorials are preferred to the Wes and Rae Pearson Endowed Fund for Pre-Health and Chemistry at St. Olaf College or St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Arrangements are with the Bierman Funeral Home. www.biermanfuneralhome.com

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Funeral

2:00 PM - November 13, 2017


Visitation One Hour Before Service
St. John’s Lutheran Church
500 3rd St W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

Visitation

2:00 PM - November 12, 2017 - 4:00P.M.

St. Johns Lutheran Church
500 3rd St W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

Burial

Burial

St. John’s Lutheran Church
500 3rd St W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

7 Comments

  1. John walters

    This man changed my life. His kindness will be in my memory as long I am able to hold it there.

    Reply
  2. Daniel Syrdal

    Wes was the greatest and most caring college professor I ever had the good fortune to have as a teacher, friend, and role model. He has left a wonderful mark on literally thousands of lives and will always be remembered with love and admiration.

    Reply
  3. Karen Renneke

    Wes Pearson was the best friend anyone could ask for! He was a gentle soul, who loved God, his family and teaching Organic Chemistry. I was blessed to visit and pray with him last Wednesday. I loved Dr. Pearson,and I know he left this world a better place for many. May all who knew him be comforted knowing he is a Child of the King!

    Reply
  4. Daniel J. Townsend

    In his own unique way, Wes embodied the true definition of what is was to be a “mensch”… I feel so blessed to have reconnected with him a few months ago at the Wes Pearson dinner in May…. He still had that wise “twinkle in his eye” even then, 40 years after I had last seen him! Daniel Townsend

    Reply
  5. Carla Gingold feldhamer

    Wes was my mother’s 1st cousin. As a child living in St. Paul, I looked forward to our many visits to auntie Edith’s farm in Vasa where our Swedish relatives settled. Wes and his brothers loved to take the “city cousins” under their wings and show them life on the farm. Wes was a gentle tease with an impish smile. I am greatful he was a part of my life. My sympathy to Rae, Mark and Paul. Cousin Carla Gingold feldhamer

    Reply
  6. Joel Schurke

    Dr. Pearson exuded kindness and calmness as he stretched our limits as students and built our self-confidence to understand the complex subject matter that seemed to come so easily to him. He kept things light-hearted as he mentored and taught us all. He lived an exemplary life and will be deeply missed.

    Reply
  7. Mary Berg

    To the family, my sincere condolences for the loss of your loved one. May you find comfort in the knowledge that “there is going to be a resurrection,” as the Bible confirms at Acts 24:15. “Do not be amazed at this,” Jesus assures us, “for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” (John 5:28,29) By meditating on God’s promises found in the Bible, may you find real hope and the strength to keep going. (1 Th 4:13,14) Deepest sympathy.

    Reply

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