Memorial Spaceflights

Erma and Thomas Pierce

"Already together in Heaven next stop The Moon"

TOM PIERCE March 23, 1931 - July 16, 2012

ERMA PIERCE  July 13, 1933 - May 18, 2018

Tom and Erma were known to many as a kind, helpful, and compassionate couple; married for 56 years, they were an example to many in their years together, showing others that even when days were not always "happy days," you can get thru those days with the one you love and with prayer, then those days didn't seem so bad.

Years before they became known to many as "the Pierces," Tom served our country In Korea, and Erma was a telephone operator in Milwaukee, where they would later meet, marry, and start a family. God knew what He had planned for them. They spent their honeymoon at their home away from home, "the Cabin," where this little 1930 cabin In the woods of northern Wisconsin would be filled with memories that would never be forgotten during their 56 years of marriage.

Erma, a mother of two, babysat for just about every child in their neighborhood of 48 years; she loved to garden and watch "Murder She Wrote,” Mark Harmon/NCIS and Doris Day. Tom loved to fish and deer hunt and go to the "cabin." They were always ready to lend a hand or the item Tom had picked up along the curb to anyone in need and would say, “Well, it was free.”

From their gift of Christmas cookies that they would hand out to all of their neighbors to the homegrown tomatoes Erma grew in her garden, they were known to many as "givers.” 

Tom loved to decorate the outside of their house for Christmas, having actually won an award in the community long before the Great Christmas Light Fight began. 

Erma loved to bake; her favorite (and everyone else's) was her Depression Cake and the favorite Butterscotch Delight she would make for the family every holiday. 

Tom and Erma were happy; they lived a life that some would say was “normal" for a couple raising two kids during the '60s and '70s, worked hard, gave their children a comfortable upbringing, and wanted more for their children than what they had. Tom and Erma never traveled out of Wisconsin much in their marriage. Until one day, Tom had an announcement...

If you knew Tom, you knew he was not exactly subtle. If he was going to do something, it would be done right the first time, and most would take notice. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect the news we would receive. Tom and Erma had a few favorite establishments that they liked to frequent, and of course, they were on a first-name basis with everyone there; in the private party room in the back, they dropped the news of a lifetime.

Tom shared that they had a surprise for everyone. They were now in their early seventies and enjoying life. We all knew their favorite place to go and "get lost.” But nothing…did I say nothing could have prepared us for what came next.

We all sat in anticipation, and finally, Tom said, "We have decided to go on a trip.” Neither had flown anywhere for years, and we figured, oh maybe New York City, Florida, or Hawaii,, the next sentence took a minute for everyone to digest: WE'RE GOING TO CHINA! 

We all look at one another, puzzled, thinking they must be joking! They have never traveled internationally before! Did not even have a passport. Other than when Tom went to war. This was a pretty big deal – remember, Tom was not the subtle type! He was always going to go big or go home! We had so many questions. They shared their itinerary and were so excited to tell us about the trip. Oh, but wait…there was MORE! 

They said they had an even bigger surprise. Were they taking the entire family? Now, absolutely nothing in this world could have prepared us for what was about to come out of their mouths at this moment in time. WE'RE GOING TO THE MOON! Ok, now, at this point, some of us had a funny look, some of us laughed, and some of us thought they were joking. Now, how were they going to the moon? The look of excitement and delight in their eyes, the smile you could tell hurt because it was so big; they had been holding this in for a while. Now that this was out of the bag, they started shoring the news with EVERYONE! Who had ever heard that you could go to the moon?

Fast forward a few months, the China trip did happen, and so did a few little hiccups; they went missing for two days, with no one knowing their whereabouts, it was a little unnerving, to say the least, and after their daughter called numerous hotels, and other places, she was finally able to track them down. I mean, why would their itinerary be wrong? It's not like China is very big, right? But they had the experience of a lifetime.

And now they are finally going on the trip that will forever and finally be their resting place for all to see. Their last stop.

Tom and Erma Pierce will always look down on their friends and loved ones with smiles. And the last thing to leave you all with is that they always tried to help others, and it would be an honor to both of them if you did the same.

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