Jimmie O. Pierson (Sign Guestbook)

Jimmie Olin Pierson “Jim”, 80, passed away Thursday, January 4 2018 after a brief battle with cancer.  Jim was born in Fall Branch Tennessee son of Bascom and Georgia Pierson.  Jim has two sisters Peggy Doty and Barbara (Tom) Zollman.  He married Norma Grubbs, June 11, 1963. Jim is the father of three girls Rebecca (Peter) Pierson, Rachel (William) Simpson, and Erika (Michael) Nazerias, grandfather to 6: Derek, Sean, Haley, Julie, Alexander and Elaina, and great grandfather to Mia Isabella Taylor.

Jim graduated as Valedictorian of Fall Branch High School in 1955.  Jim earned his BA from Milligan College in 1959.  He earned his MA from the University of Tennessee in 1962 and completed postgraduate work in Special Education and Speech Pathology from 1965 – 1977.  Jim received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Milligan College in 1991.

Jim served as the Executive Director of the East Tennessee Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville from 1967 – 1984.  He also served as an Associate Professor of English and Speech at Johnson University from 1960 – 1967 and as a part-time Associate Professor of Special Disabilities Education from 1967 – 2017.  He served as the Special Services Coordinator at Johnson University for several years.  He was an adjunct professor in special education at Milligan College from 1978 – 1995.  Jim was the Founding Director of the Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped in 1984 where he served as President until 2009.  Jim, a published author, also served for several years as a Special Education Consultant for Standard Publishing.

Jim directed seminars and workshops on how the church can minister to persons with disabilities.  Jim was the 2003 recipient of the Henri Nouwen Award.  Jim toured all over the world to raise awareness for disability ministry.  He served on many boards and committees in support of those with special needs.

Jim was an avid gardener with a particular interest in hostas of which he had over 200 varieties.

Jim was a long time member of Woodlawn Christian Church where he served in many capacities including elder, Chairman of the Disability Ministry Team and Sunday school teacher.  He was devoted to his family and loved by all who knew him.  He left a lasting legacy on this earth where he shared the love of Christ with all those around him.  Jim Pierson is the epitome of a life well lived he never met a stranger, all who met him were better for it.

The family will receive friends at Woodlawn Christian Church,  4339 Woodlawn Pike Knoxville TN 37920 Sunday January 7,  2 pm to 4:45 pm with a celebration of life service immediately following at 5 pm.  Graveside service will be Monday January 8 at 1pm at Woodlawn Cemetery 4500 Woodlawn Pike Knoxville, TN 37920. The family has asked in lieu of flowers please consider donating to one of the following causes: The Jim Pierson Memorial Scholarship Fund Johnson University 7900 Johnson Drive Knoxville, TN 37998,  Abilityministry.com or Woodlawn Christian Church. Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Pierson family and invites you to view and sign their online guestbook below.


41 guestbook entries for “Jimmie O. Pierson”:

  1. Betty Smith says:

    Thanks to Norma and Jim for taking Randall
    and Dennis Smith into your loving compassionate
    Care for more than 50 years. Jim blessed
    Our families with prayers and kindness in more
    Ways I can express. Love to Norma.
    Betty, Wendy, Wayne, Randall, and Dennis Smith

  2. Gary Hundley says:

    Asking God to share more of His peace with the family. Jim will be sorely missed as he leaves behind many lives whom he has touched.

  3. Bob & Etta Kastens says:

    Prayers for Norma and the family. Etta regrets not being able to share with the family on Sunday.

  4. Ziden L. Nutt says:

    It was a privilege to know my beloved friend, Jim Pierson, and I pray the very best of comfort and condolences to you Norma and your family at this difficult time. Jim was one of the most loving and compassionate people I’ve ever met, and I was honored to serve on the Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped board for many years with him. When Helen and I returned from Africa with our daughter Lynda who had disabilities, Jim was the first one recommended to us by mutual friend Sam Stone. Jim was a marvelous help to us. Norma, you are in our prayers with deep admiration from the time I first met you in 1954 at LBI, and then as you served the church in Griffith, Indiana with Leigh Hargrave. Your are one of the most gracious people I’ve ever known, full of compassion and humility. May you be blessed in special ways as you and your family continue your journey here on earth, “until the day of Christ.”

  5. Terry Bonebrake (JBC '85) says:

    It was an honor to have known this wonderful man who chose to see each person as a person first in spite of any impairment they may be challenged with in life. My prayers are with you Norma and all your loved ones this weekend as you celebrate the life of this giant in his field of ministry.

  6. Roy Reid says:

    Jim, you have been a wonderful friend to our entire family and briefly a mentor to our youngest daughter, Kathy Reid Miller. Your life was an inspiration to the many people who you came in contact with and they are better for it. May God bless you as your memory and contributions to His Kingdom will continue to be of service to many in the future.

  7. Lola Wilson says:

    I am so sorry to hear that Mr Pierson has passed away. He has helped many people during his lifetime. Prayers for you and your family.

  8. Carolyn Bonds DeLaughter says:

    Praying for you to allow the Holy Spirit to give you comfort, Norma and family, as you grieve the loss and celebrate the life of your beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother in his passing to be in the eternal presence of our Heavenly Father. Praise God for his many talents: his extraordinary teaching with such fervor (his first year as professor of English at JBC was an extra blessing my freshman year—including bringing Mildred Welshimer for lectures), his honest caring for each student made a difference in my life and others, his genuine friendship that he offered was a lifetime gift. his passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom everywhere and to all people was an example to all who knew and loved him. God’s Peace. In His love and mine, Carolyn Bonds DeLaughter

  9. Barbara Woods-Miazza says:

    Dr. Pierson’s passion for ministry to other-abled people and his joy and enthusiasm as well as his compassion influenced my career in Special Education. I regarded him as a wise mentor. Among my fondest memories of him was how he would launch into a story. He was always such a delight. My prayers and thoughts are with Mrs. Pierson and his family as they continue their sojourn on this earth.

  10. Tony & Sandy Satterfield says:

    We met Jim many years ago in his parent’s home during a few very special family gatherings. They treated us like family and fed us well. He was the wonderful person described in his obituary and by many comments already shared. I know that he is having a wonderful reunion in heaven now with his family members that have gone before. And, I hope he’s holding our Brittany on his lap for us. She dearly loved his sister Barbara and her husband, Tom. She left us at age 2 in 1988. Oh what a reunion ALL believers will have with them one day❣️ But for now, we are praying for God to grant peace, comfort, and healing to Jim’s precious earthly family. And, remember that every day that passes since Jim’s death will be one day closer to the Great Reunion in heaven. May God richly bless his sweet family. We love you all.

  11. Shirley R. Hasty says:

    my love and prayers to Norma and family……

  12. James and Deloris Cauley says:

    Dear Norma,
    Deloris and I send our deepest regret. We always looked upon Jim with awe in the way he shared his kindness and love with all whose life he touched. He will surely be missed. It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will comfort you in such a mighty loss.

  13. George Bolling says:

    Jimmie Pierson came from a wonderful family whose solid roots gave rise to a true servant to mankind. His contributions will be long-remembered. Peggy and Barbara, speaking for all us in the Bolling family, including Dad and Mom, I extend our condolences and ask God to give you, your loved ones, and Jim’s family, and I ask God to give you strength as you grieve your loss. You are foremost in our prayers.

  14. Sue Perkins says:

    Jim was one of the most amazing man I have ever known. You could always feel his Love for God in all he said and did. So grateful my children and I have known him. Norma, I know he was the other half of your life. My prayers are with all your family. God be with you.

  15. Joann Whitt says:

    You will be missed by so many of us. But just like my husband your reward is in heaven. Norma, I know you are missing Jim but the family will take care of you. Sorry I can’t be there.
    Joann Whitt

  16. John Rutherford says:

    Mr. Pierson was very special to my family and all of the folks at Woodlawn Christian Church. He was truly a wonderful man and will be missed, my family send their love and prayers.

  17. Maria Jones says:

    He truly showed Christ’s unconditional love for people with how he lived and worked. My family was blessed to know him. I’m thankful for his lasting legacy. My prayers are with the family.

  18. Lisa Bell says:

    Norma and Family, so sorry for your loss . I always enjoyed talking to him at food city. My Prayers are with you all.

  19. Marta Adkisson Nichols says:


    Much love to you and your family. I will always be grateful to Jim for allowing me to work at the Children’s Rehabilitation Center. That job made it possible for me to attend and graduate from UT. He was a caring, witty, and compassionate man. May God comfort and bless you.

  20. Virginia Mayer says:

    Dear Norma and all of Jim’s family. My thoughts and prayer
    are with you. Your and Jim’s love and kindness as guides and mentors to my children and grandchildren has been such a blessing. Jim’s support and love especially to Joseph and Sophie has given me such peace. You are dearly loved and your and Jim’s example will continue to help them through the years to come.

  21. Susan Bolt says:

    Jim was a dear friend to our special students in Knox County Schools.

  22. Marjorie Steele says:

    Jim was the most inspiring man. I had the honor of having Jim speak at Berea Christian Church for our Mission Sunday. Later our mission team toured CCFH and later I will always remember Jim sharing some of his lovely Hosta plants for me to start my own beds, he taught me how to grow and care for Hosta. In loving memory of you Jim, Art and Marji and Jeff Steele.

  23. Dan Deremer says:

    Deepest condolences on the passing of an amazing man, a Christian brother and a dear friend

  24. Bill and Reba Butler says:

    We are rejoicing and grieving with you this afternoon. You are in our prayers today and in the days to come.

  25. Tom & Mary Hunt says:

    Jim was a beloved friend who impacted our lives in many ways over the years. Prayers and blessings to Norma and all the family. God bless.

  26. Jean Smith says:

    Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family. We got to know Mr Pierson when our daughter attend Children Rehab Center.He was one of the nicest men we every came in contact with as we were dealing with our daughter problems.He was always willing to help us if we needed help.He told me no matter what doctors tell you. Don’t every give up on your baby you know her better than anyone.When she turned 30 we gave her a 30th Birthday Party.We invited Mr. Pierson and he came.Our daughter was so pleased. He was a great Christian Man and he will be greatly missed. He did a lot of good work It was great to know him.

  27. Sharon Winkle says:

    Dear Norma, Rebecca, Rachel and Erika, I have been praying for all of you since I learned of Jim’s battle with cancer. I am continuing to keep you in my prayers for peace, comfort and strength in the days and weeks ahead. With deepest sympathy, Sharon Bounds Winkle

  28. Bill & Cindy Huff says:

    I knew Jim by sight from Woodlawn but first was able to truly know him from East Tn Children’s Rehab Center in 1980. It was a privilege to call him and Norma friends. He will be missed by many. God bless you Norma and your family. May God continue to comfort you during this time. We love you.

  29. Kenny Woodhull says:

    Brilliant soul. I’ll miss his bright countenance and “can do” attitude.

  30. Dennis Wheeler says:

    Dear Rachel,
    Your Dad was an incredibly special man and he had a profound impact on my life. You are certainly blessed in that you continue to reflect his personality, humor and outlook on life!!!
    You, your mom and family are in our prayers.
    Dennis & Sharon Wheeler

  31. Lisa Stout says:

    Erica we are praying for you and the family. So sorry to hear about your Dad. It sounds like he was an incredible man and isn’t it wonderful to know that you will be reunited with him again? God is good. We love you.

  32. Patty Forthman says:

    It is an honor to have had a friend in Dr. Pierson. I’m so thankful our paths crossed, and for the influence he had on my life. Praying for Ms. Norma, the family, and the many friends who are mourning this loss.

  33. South Knoxville Branch Library says:

    We were all very saddened to hear of Mr. Pierson’s passing. We will all miss him great. The whole family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  34. Ann Taylor says:

    I was just talking about Jimmie a few days ago. My mother asked him to give me piano lessons. He ask me what kind of music did I prefer. I said gospel and that’s all. In just a few months I was playing most of the songs in the Gospel Hymnal. I played organ and piano in church for many years. He was a wonderful friend and neighbor.
    I know he will be greatly missed. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  35. RANDY HODGE says:


  36. Lisa Watkins says:

    Norma and Family , so sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in our Lord at the difficult time . My thoughts and Prayers are with you.

  37. Martin Sanders says:

    The most gentle of men, has gone to his great reward in heaven, what a CLASSY human being. A privilege to have known this great Servant of Christ. Deepest Christian Sympathy to all his beloved family.
    – Martin Sanders, JBC Class of 1987

  38. Lisa J Horne says:

    Gosh how I enjoyed his company when he came to visit his mom. I worked at the facility where his mother was. He always had a good story to tell and so friendly. Praying that God comforts all of you during this time.

  39. Don Brookshire says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Jim was a great worker for the Lord. My mother-in-law, Elizabeth Justus of Newport, held Jim in the highest esteem for the work he did with the church there. May you find comfort in the Lord. Don Brookshire

  40. David Freeman says:

    Mary and I always like Prof. Pierson. Mary remembers Norma from her days at FCC in Harriman, TN. He was always a challenging but caring Professor during my days at JBC [65-69] and I loved to hear him preach. Our thought and prayers go up for his family.

  41. Tom Beckner says:

    Jim made such a huge impact on many people, and he did so with humility and grace. What a blessing to have known him and to have encountered Christ’s presence flowing from his heart. Bev and I will be praying for your family.

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