William Beacham Pearce
William Beacham Pearce
  • May 23, 1927 - August 15, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Share This Obituary

William Beacham Pearce ("Bill") passed away peacefully on August 15, 2017 at the age of 90 after a series of illnesses over the preceding 3 months. He is survived by his three children Elizabeth Rand Pearce of Boynton Beach, FL, William Beacham Pearce, Jr. ("Will") of Raleigh, and Anne Cline Pearce Watkins of Charlotte, by his five grandchildren Melinda McKee of Raleigh, Justin ("Jedd") Pearce of Medellin, Colombia and Joshua, Mary Elizabeth, and William Watkins, all of Charlotte, and by his younger brother Robert Walton Pearce of Charleston, SC. Bill was pre-deceased by his wife Betty Anne Cline Pearce, parents Dixon F. and Isbell Beacham Pearce, and older brother, Dixon F. Pearce, Jr. ("Dick").

A native of Greenville, SC, Bill grew up attending Buncombe Street UMC. He graduated from Greenville High School in 1944, enlisting immediately afterward in the naval cadet (V-12) program at Duke University. When the war ended, Bill transitioned to Duke's Naval ROTC program, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1947 and being commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. Before reporting to his first duty station, he was discharged from the Navy as part of the post-war military draw-down. After working briefly in industry, Bill enrolled in the industrial engineering graduate program at Georgia Tech, obtaining a master's degree in that discipline.

Bill met his beautiful wife Betty Anne, a native of Raleigh, NC, at Buncombe Street UMC in Greenville, where she sang in the choir. They married at Edenton Street UMC in Raleigh in 1953. Their children were born in Greenville in quick succession: Elizabeth in 1954, Will in 1956, and Anne in 1958. After several job-related moves in the early years, the family settled in Pickens SC in 1961, attending Grace UMC, where Bill served on the board and worked for Singer's power tools division. In 1968, the family returned to Greenville, joining Aldersgate UMC, with Bill once again serving on the congregation's board while transitioning his career to the commercial construction industry.

Professionally, Bill was an industrial engineering pioneer, being the first IE to take productivity improvement principles that were common in manufacturing and applying them to commercial construction. He further earned the "visionary" title by introducing personal computers to commercial construction job sites in the early 1980s as a way to track productivity gains and manage his productivity improvement programs. What seemed strange to the construction industry veterans then is now a standard feature in that field.

After the children left home, Bill and Betty Anne retired and returned to Raleigh and Edenton Street UMC. For many years, Bill served as treasurer for the Francis Asbury Sunday School class, in addition to many other service roles at ESUMC.

The memorial service will be held at Edenton Street United Methodist Church on Tuesday, August 29 at 3:00 PM, and will be preceded by visitation with the family at the ESUMC Reception Center at 2:00. A graveside service will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in Cary, NC.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Habitat for Humanity International, 121 Habitat Street, Americus GA 31709-3498 or www.habitat.org.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St. Raleigh, NC.