Peter G. Pierce, III
Oklahoma City - PETER G. PIERCE, III of Oklahoma City died on May 2, 2021. Pete was a consummate gentleman and an inveterate scholar. Navigated by his joie de vivre, insatiable curiosity, and photographic memory, Pete built a life marked by love, service, and success. In his words, and as his family and friends around the world can attest, "he enjoyed a full and satisfying life."
Pete was born on Constitution Day, September 17, 1949, in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1950, Pete's family moved to Oklahoma City. Pete was a product of Oklahoma City schools, attending Sequoyah, Kirkland, Putnam City, Bishop McGuinness, and Harding, from which he graduated in 1967. He matriculated to the University of Oklahoma where he pledged Beta Theta Pi fraternity and studied classical languages, philosophy, and history, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Latin in 1971. He was a devout classicist and student of history for the rest of his life.
Pete next earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University in 1974 and litigated in Oklahoma City for the next 16 years, during which time he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.
In 1990, Pete joined the family business, First Bethany Bank & Trust, and over the years transitioned from day-to-day management to concentrate on strategic issues. At the time of his death, he was Chair of First Bethany Bank & Trust and President of First Bethany Bancorp, Inc.
Pete combined his legal and financial skills to collaborate with Tom Loy to create MetaFund, a community-development financial institution. The deployment of "social capital" through MetaFund and his other activities were inspired by Pete's membership in the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The years Pete worked with his Saguaro colleagues, including former President Barack Obama and Saguaro's founder Robert Putnam, were among his happiest and most stimulating. Pete's subsequent service to MetaFund yielded him Leadership OKC's highest award, the Paragon.
Pete embarked on a third career in 2002 when he joined the faculty of OU's College of Arts & Sciences. While there, Pete taught three courses of his creation: Social Capitalism: Theory and Practice; A History of Baseball in the Cross Timbers; and, Life After OU. The latter course taught hundreds of students how "to adult," culminating in grand dinners at his home where Pete shared his epicurean side and extraordinary culinary talents. That the course is still offered – even being taught at the time of Pete's death – is a testament to Pete's foresight and ingenuity.
Pete was also an exquisite wordsmith and, in 2009, authored Baseball in the Cross Timbers followed by a series on the history of minor-league baseball in Oklahoma, Territorians to Boomers, Indians, Cardinals and Rosebuds; Eight Seasons of the Herefords; Red Dirt Baseball: The First Decades 1900-1919; Red Dirt Baseball: Boom and Bust 1920-1942; and, Red Dirt Baseball: The Post-War Years 1946-1961, all published by the Oklahoma Heritage Association.
Inspired early by his high school's Emerson Project, Pete embraced social service and civic engagement as lifelong vocations. His non-profit board work included RAIN-Oklahoma, the Cimarron Alliance Foundation, Travelers Aid Society, the Board of Visitors of the OU College of Arts & Sciences, Citizens League of Central Oklahoma, and World Neighbors. Pete also served four terms on the Nichols Hills City Council, chaired the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, ran for a seat in the Oklahoma legislature, and was a member of Leadership Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Academy.
Pete was at his core a humanitarian and proud Oklahoman who knew the importance of play. Though a bit of a Luddite, Pete had a flawless sense of direction, a Google-adjacent memory, and sartorial flair. He traveled the world and every inch of Oklahoma, particularly her two-lane blacktop byways; hosted Soviets and Czechs before the Iron Curtain fell; and, among other life skills, taught his children how to TP a house. Pete was also an adopted son of New Orleans, where he "let the good times roll" and lived in a former canning company overlooking Bayou Saint John. He hosted crawfish boils for his Norman students, rode in Carnival as a member of the Krewe of Tucks, and regularly attended the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, particularly favoring its Fais Do Do stage and cochon-de-lait po-boys. His house account at Galatoire's was well-worn over the years and he definitely knew where he got his shoes. True to form, Pete spent his Covid quarantine learning Hieroglyphics, studying Medieval plagues, and cooking with his dearest partner, Dorothy (née Tate), to whom Pete was married for 30 years.
Pete lived a righteous life, showed kindness and generosity when it mattered most, and left this world a better place. His love of life and its great pleasures will be carried on enthusiastically by all who had the pleasure to know him, but especially Dorothy; his children, Meredith Cunningham and Paul; their respective spouses Mark and Gina; five grandchildren who adored him immensely, Alistair, Virginia, Pierce, Poppy, and Louisa; his beloved nieces and nephews; and, close friends Jim McMillin of Edmond, Paul T. Fanning of Tyler, Texas, Paul Heywood-Smith, Q.C., of Adelaide, South Australia, Dave Cannon of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Tom Loy of Oklahoma City, and Gary Farabough of Ardmore.
It is no surprise that Pete's final wish was that his friends and family "pass a good time" on him, so a champagne memorial celebrating Pete will be held on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club (pool entrance or valet). For those who cannot attend in person, the memorial will be posted to Pete's Facebook page, where remembrances are welcome. Memorials may be made to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (https://phassociation.org/donate), the Oklahoma Humanities Council (https://www.okhumanities.org/donate), the University of Oklahoma Foundation (https://www.oufoundation.org/portal/Giving/Giving-Mega-Page), the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (https://www.gift.omrf.org), or the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic (http://www.neworleansmusiciansclinic.org).
Posted online on May 06, 2021