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Capt. Ray Pierce

September 15, 1929 ~ December 22, 2017 (age 88)

Peterborough and Hancock, NH

Captain Ray Pierce, USN (Ret.) of Rivermead and formerly of Hancock, NH died on December 22, 2017 at Rivermead Life Care Community after a sudden illness.

Captain Pierce was born in Springfield, VT on September 15, 1929, the son of Warren Hatch Pierce and Ruth Edson Pierce.  He was a graduate of Hancock High School, where in his class he was the smartest male, best-looking male, and the best male athlete.  He was also the only boy in his class of three.  He attended Dartmouth College on a NROTC Scholarship, receiving his BA in 1952.  He received his BS degree in mechanical engineering and a MS degree in management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

Ray was a career officer in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of Captain during his 34 year career.

Upon commissioning, his first assignment was aboard the USS O’Hare (DD889).  After eight years at sea on four different ships, he changed his designator to Naval Engineer and spent the remainder of his career in the design and overhaul of ships.   He served 14 months creating the ship and craft repair and overhaul facility in Danang during the Viet Nam War.   In the ensuing years, he held positions at the Department of Defense and Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC.  In 1975 he became Commanding Officer of the Ship Repair Facility, Guam.  Upon returning to the U.S. mainland in 1977, he became Production Officer at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, later assuming the position of Shipyard Commander in 1978.

During his active duty, he received the following medals and awards:  The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of a second medal, and the Secretary of Defense Joint Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon.

Following his retirement from the Navy in 1981, he served as a consultant for various ship engineering concerns.  Ray and his wife, Helen Manning Pierce, returned to Hancock, the town they both considered home and where they had met as teenagers.   Together, they restored the home they purchased on Main Street.

Always an active member of the local community, he was part of the committee that researched and established the town recycling center.   This interest in the environment led to his appointment as Executive Director of the NH Resource Recovery Association.  He served three terms as a Hancock Selectman over the course of nine years, and on a number of the town’s committees.  He was chairman of the Village Planning Committee, established to improve the general appearance and safety of the town’s historic main street; Honorary Chairman and active member of the Hancock Improvement Association, a non-profit group dedicated to raising the funds paid to clear the Town Common of utility poles and wiring; Member and Chairman of the committee responsible for planning and constructing the Town’s recycling and waste Management facility; and member of the committee that kept the Post Office in the Village by acquiring the Grange Hall.

At the same time, he fed his passion for antique restoration by re-inventing, along with Helen, a business started by her parents in the barn of her family home on Main Street.   The Barn of Hancock Village, open under their stewardship for 20 years, was a destination for both tourists and townspeople alike, selling artwork, china, glassware, linens, and furniture, including many pieces restored by Pierce himself.

He is survived by three daughters; Debora Pierce Settle who resides with her husband John in Hancock, Rebecca Pierce of Clearwater, FL and Meredith Pierce Martin who resides with her husband Commander Richard Martin, USN (Ret.), Of Chesapeake, VA. He also raised and treated as a son his nephew, Scott Manning who lives with his partner, Frank Guerra in Hancock and New York City. He has six grandchildren; Robert Burnes of Spring Hill, FL, Cameron Burnes of Clearwater, FL,  Sara Martin Ryals of Gainesville, FL, Zachary Martin of Radford, VA, Rebecca Martin Gaynor of Falls Church, VA and  Jason Stone of London, UK.  He has three great-grandchildren; Hannah Burnes of Spring Hill, FL, Reed Pierce Gaynor and Evelyn Manning Gaynor both of Falls Church, VA.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Helen and his brothers Alvah Pierce and Melvin Pierce.

A graveside service with full military honors will be held at Norway Plain Cemetery, Hancock, and will be announced in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Services Organization (USO), PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20087-7677, an important Service Organization dedicated to catering to the wellbeing of our military members and their families. 

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