Bruce Pearson obituary

Addendum to Obituary for Bruce Pearson

While it would be challenging to honor all of the Quaker Faith and Practice of Bruce Pearson, this effort is to add detail.

 Bruce has been described as the “backbone” of Columbia Friends Meeting, and was clerk there.  His thoughtful and forthright clerking style navigated the meeting through Quaker process and service.  Bruce led Columbia Friends to work on upkeep of the Bush River Cemetery, once also the location of a thriving Quaker community. His efforts helped preserve this historic location where up to hundreds of Friends once gathered for quarterly meeting. Bruce’s ancestry included early Quaker settlers in South Carolina, who eventually joined the migration and left for parts north and west, including his home state of Indiana in the run up to the Civil War.  

As an advocate against the death penalty, Bruce was active in Amnesty, International.  He was the SC State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator and a regular prison visitor.  With others, Bruce was arrested when they attempted to block a delivery truck entering the Broad River Correctional facility.  He organized execution vigils and edited the book The Death Penalty in SC: Outlook for the 80’s.  He and his wife Julie adopted a man on death row.  He created the first anti-death penalty group in SC.  He worked with the Progressive Network, producing pamphlets and receiving the Thunder and Lightning Award, in recognition of leadership and commitment to human and civil rights in the mid-1990’s for his death penalty work.

 He was a signer on the first statewide gathering of Quakers in modern times, the Palmetto Friends Gathering that met in Myrtle Beach at the Christian  Retreat Center the weekend of January 12-14, 1990.  He helped to plan PFG annual weekends and served as clerk for the 5th and 6th annual Gatherings.

 Bruce was a skilled mentor, and worked closely with Rebecca Rogers as she seasoned her clerking skills.  He is remembered fondly by Ron Caz who took over the Amnesty role in 1991, for his training and support.

In 2004 Bruce and Julie affiliated with the Salem-Black River Friends meeting for a short time before moving to Indiana.

 Recollections provided by: Ron Caz, Grace Gifford, Sallie Prugh, Becci Robbins, Harry Rogers and Anna Shockley