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Russell LaVere Pierson

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Memories & Candles

“Russell you were a bright and shining star here on earth and may that light continue to shine on you while you are in heaven.  Your poems to the...Read More »
1 of 8 | Posted by: Tammi Didlot

“Russell you were an example to follow and you will be missed by many!  It was an honor to know you and be able to call you my friend. ”
2 of 8 | Posted by: Ddee Haynes

“Russell has been a dear friend for many years. I worked with Russell while employed with the OKC Chamber of Commerce. The events that Russell was...Read More »
3 of 8 | Posted by: Bobbie Steenbergen - Yukon, OK

“Russell was a great man.  I am glad I was able to know him the past year. ”
4 of 8 | Posted by: Lisa DiMonico

“to all who knew Russell   we lost truly a great man this week , He was maybe the greatest role model I have ever met. I have met a lot and...Read More »
5 of 8 | Posted by: Douglas Roy Sauter

“I worked with Russell at the Oklahoma State Fair for many years and had great respect and admiration for him as a true gentleman.  He was very...Read More »
6 of 8 | Posted by: Rosemary Towler

“I love you, "wildman"...give mom & grandmother a hug for me!!!?????? ”
7 of 8 | Posted by: Cody Craft

“Thoughts and prayers for all the family! Russell was great man and will be missed dearly! ”
8 of 8 | Posted by: Autumn Pierson Springer - OK


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Russell Pierson December 15, 1911 – March 31, 2015 Russell LaVere Pierson was born December 15, 1911, on his parent's farm in Greer County Oklahoma; just across the road from the farm his grandfather homesteaded in 1886. As a farm boy hard work was his daily companion; a trait that he held strong for over a century. Russell and his family moved to New Mexico traveling there in a covered wagon and returned to Oklahoma on a flatbed railcar. He grew up looking down the leather lines between a team of horses pulling a planter. He saw a lot of change over the 103 plus years of his life, but his love for Jesus Christ was constant and true. He was a dedicated family man, respected agriculture professional and tireless civic leader. With all this in mind, he stated several times that his "claim to fame" was capturing the heart and hand of OAMC Aggie Princess Bernice Strom from Perry OK. They wed at high noon on May 19, 1935 and raised, as he claimed "two beautiful intelligent" daughters. Like a lot of farm boys, Russell was active in 4-H Club, football and track. As a senior at Mangum High School, in which he graduated in 1929, he participated in a track meet against sixteen other high schools. He took home the gold in the quarter-mile, half-mile, mile, high jump and anchored the winning relay team. That same year he won the first-ever Tulsa Marathon; the precursor to today's Tulsa Run. Russell attended Oklahoma A&M (OAMC), earned letters in both track and cross country, and was active in Collegiate 4-H Club and the OAMC Crops Judging Team. In 1934 the OAMC Extension Service sent him out as an Assistant County Agent in Harmon County. In December 1935 he was moved to Pauls Valley as the Garvin County Agent. In 1937 he took a week off and went back to Stillwater and finished up his Bachelor's degree in Agronomy. His influence over youth was inspiring. As the Garvin County Agent, he coached the 4-H Club boys to National Championships in Soil and Water Conservation, Livestock Loss Prevention Demonstrations and Crop Judging. His Garvin County 4-H boys won the Oklahoma Championship in Crops Judging seven years in a row and won the Cotton Classing Championships five years in a row. His 4-H boys also won numerous Grand and Breed champions in national and international competition. He developed several Certified Seed Producers, organized the Garvin-Murray Soil Conservation District and formed the Rural Electric Cooperative in Lindsey during his time in Garvin County. In 1946 OAMC asked him to administer Oklahoma's Seed Certification Program. He served as the Extension Agronomist and Secretary-Treasurer of the Oklahoma Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) and created the OCIA seed-testing laboratory. After a stint as Vice President of a wholesale seed farm supply firm and Director for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture's Marketing Division, Russell found his way into broadcasting. In 1959, he was hired on to head the Farm and Ranch Broadcasting Service for WKY Radio and Television and worked there until the early 1980s. Many folks remember his early morning broadcasts and his rousing and timely poems, which he included in every broadcast. As if this was not enough, in 1953 he established Pierson Seed Farms and through contract production became the nation's largest producer of certified okra seed. He was known through the crop production world as "Mr. Okra". Chances are, if you have eaten okra any time in the last 60 years, you probably ate okra that he grew in a field that he walked. He was a strong supporter of the Republican Party and served as a Deacon in the Baptist Church for more than 75 years. Russell Pierson's list of civic and agriculture involvement is expansive. He served in the County Extension Agents Association from 1936 until 1946 as the State Secretary. He remained active as a Charter Member of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau since 1941, a member of the State Fair of Oklahoma since 1934, and was active with the Oklahoma 4-H and FFA Livestock Show since 1937. In 1936 he joined the Oklahoma Crop Improvement Association (Vice-President 1998, President 1999). He was a member of the International Crop Improvement Association in 1936 and served as the President in 1952. He was involved with the National Land and Range Judging Contest from 1959 and was Chairman of the Steering Committee that same year. Between 1980 and 1999 he was a part of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation and served on its Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999. He was a member of the National Association of Radio and Television Farm Broadcasters from 1959 until 1992 and served as their President in 1973. He was a part of the Oklahoma Seed Trade Association since 1953 and their President in 1988 and 1998. Russell was a member of the Southwest American Livestock Association from 1970 and served as its President in 1992. He was also active in the Sirloin Club of America since 1970 and served as its President in 1993 and 1994. Among the numerous honors and awards Russell received are the 1972 Top Radio and Television Farm Broadcaster in the United States, the 1985 Oklahoma Sirloin Club Honoree, 1999's Oklahoma's Premier Certified Seed Producer, and in 1998 an Honorary Doctorate and Distinguished Alumnus award from Oklahoma State University. All who knew him knew he bled America's Brightest Orange. His two daughters graduated from OSU as did his son-in-laws and two grandsons. He currently has a great-granddaughter who attends Oklahoma State University as a 4th generation legacy. Her sister will be there next year. Go Pokes! Russell was inducted into three Hall of Fames; the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association in 1988, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts in 1989, and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in 1992. Russell was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years Bernice Marie (Strom) Pierson, his parents Arthur and Edna Pierson, his sister Dorothy Lessor

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