Victor Gunnar Pearson

RAPID RIVER — Victor Gunnar Pearson, 92, of Rapid River, passed away on Sunday, May 24, 2020, at ManorCare Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Kingsford.

He was born Feb. 9th, 1928, in Gladstone, son of Lars J. and Alma E. (Anderson) Pearson. Victor graduated from Gladstone High School and then attended Cloverland College in Escanaba, before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1948 and serving as a staff sergeant during the Korean War until his honorable discharge in 1952.

On May 18, 1957, Victor married the love of his life, Joanne DeMars, at St. Patrick’s Church in Escanaba. Remembered fondly for their playful banter back and forth, the couple of 63 years rarely left each other’s side. Their unconditional love has served as an inspiration to all. The father of five children, Vic is remembered as a kind, loving dad who — despite having to work long hours to support his brood — always made time for his family.

Extremely hardworking, Victor’s first job as a teenager was, as he would proudly proclaim, “at the “Busy Bee Cafe (in Gladstone) as a dishwasher for a dollar a day.” Later in life he worked at MacGillis & Gibbs Co. and for Clairmont Trucking. He also owned and operated Pearson’s Standard Service, and he was a mechanic at Citgo Gas Station in Escanaba. Vic’s work ethic eventually earned him the position of head of maintenance at Bay College, where he worked until his retirement in 1990.

A member of the American Legion and the Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid River, Victor enjoyed playing dart ball with his partner and best friend Robert Anderson. In their heyday, the two competitors also reigned supreme in the neighborhood as horseshoe throwing champions. They coffee clutched every weekday, and they helped each other out over the years with their respective talents.

Vic, a true Jack of all trades, was a self-taught mechanic, electrician, carpenter, and plumber. Whatever the interest or need, he studied, learned, and mastered the trade.

A regular Mr. Fix-It, Vic’s multifaceted skills and desire to help made him a neighborhood hero; despite at times working six days a week, he was known to repair everything from junker bicycles to worn out toasters.

Old school to a fault, Vic saved everything lest it serve a purpose later on, and many who shook their heads at this tendency eventually found themselves thankful for his thrifty ways.

Another of Victor’s favorite hobbies was spending time at the family hunting camp. While he spent years in search of that elusive “turdy point buck,” Vic will most recently be missed for his ever-encouraging presence and self-proclaimed “chief cook and bottle washer” role at camp. It will be in this environment, surrounded by everything that reminds family that camp was one of his favorite places, that some will miss him the most.

Vic was also one of the original diehard Michigan sports fans. He was an avid Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Pistons fan, and he religiously tuned in to every broadcast game, even if many of his afternoons were spent uttering the words, “That’s it! I’m never watching those bums again!” His (hopelessly) optimistic attitude lives on in his son Dick and grandson Jake. He also enjoyed watching college basketball and attending his grandchildren’s sporting events.

Vic also loved music (especially Neil Diamond and ABBA), and he loved to “shake a leg” on the dance floor. Quick-witted and fun, his absolute favorite place to be, however, was at home surrounded by friends and family — eating, drinking, and laughing. It is at Memorial Day celebrations and the like that his loving presence will be missed the most by his entire extended family who adored him.

Vic’s survivors include his wife, Joanne; children, Michelle (Tom Corrigan) Fletcher of Kingsford, Victoria (Kevin) Berg of Escanaba, Richard (Jeannie) Pearson of Rapid River, Mark (Debra) Pearson of Durango, Color., and Debra Pearson of Rapid River; grandchildren, Herb (Jennifer) Fletcher, Tracy Fletcher, Sara Weber, Brenda (Steve) Scott, Kelly Berg, Jaime (Chad) Leclaire, Justin (Mikki) Berg, Jessica Pearson (Danny Cullen), Hannah (Steve) Perkins, Jake Pearson (Jessica Fluette), Myah Pearson and Kevin (Heathyr) Pearson; 22 great-grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Sandy (Vic) Corwin of Gladstone and his beloved dog, Coco.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his step-father, Leroy Petit; and his sisters, Signe (Walter “Kit”) Gobert; Gladys (Ray) Sundquist, Marie (Floyd) Dabney, son-in-law, Bruce Fletcher, and his cocker/terrier mix, Ellie.

A private visitation will take place at the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba.

A graveside service officiated by Pastor Steven Gauger and military rites with the Air Force Honor Guard will follow at Gardens of Rest Cemetery.

A memorial service in Vic’s honor will be held at a later date.

Expressions of sympathy may be directed to the family by visiting crawfordfuneralhomes.net or directly to the Pearson family, Crawford Funeral Homes, 302 S. 13th St., Escanaba, MI 49829.

The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the family.