Commander Doris Pearce (USN Retired) of St. Pauls, North Carolina and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina passed away on October 30, 2023. Born near Parkton, NC, in 1930, as the sixth child of Lonnie Ervin and Mary Regan Pearce. As a teenager, she and her family moved to St. Pauls, NC, where she attended school, playing basketball with her sister Juanita on the St. Pauls High School varsity girls basketball team.
After graduating from St. Pauls High School, Doris attended the Park View School of Nursing in Rocky Mounty before enlisting in the United States Navy, where she served her country for 21 years. Commander Pearce served on several bases in the United States and Japan, along with the USS Sanctuary where she was one of the first women sailors in the Navy as part of the sea going crew. During her time on the USS Sanctuary, she was stationed off the coast of Vietnam, where she cared for soldiers wounded during the Vietnam War. She was one of the only local women known to have served in the Vietnam War. Commander Pearce was awarded the following commendations for her bravery and service: the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign with Device, the Vietnam Service Medal (2 Stars), the Navy Unit Commendation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation. She was a charter Life Member of the Military Officers Association of America, a Lifetime member of the Retired Officers Association, a US Navy Memorial Plank Owner, and a charter member of the Navy Nurse Corps Association. In 2016, Commander Pearce (ret) was chosen for a panel of 3 naval nurses who served in Vietnam, as part of the Angels of the Battlefield, the Unsung heroes Symposium held aboard the USS Yorktown.
Doris retired in the Charleston South Carolina area, where she enjoyed educating visitors on the historic Nathaniel Russell house, as a member of the Historic Charleston Foundation and the Charleston Garden Club.
Other than her parents, Doris was pre-deceased by eight of her siblings: Benny, Norman, Mildred, Clara Pearce Edge, Eunice Pearce Ireland, Juanita Pearce Musselwhite, Alma Catherine, and Lucy Evelyn.
Doris is survived by her brother William “Buddy” Pearce of St. Pauls along with many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held at McNeill Legacy Funeral Home in St. Pauls on Friday, November 3rd at 11 am, with a Celebration of Life to follow at noon.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St Pauls United Methodist Church, 406 W Main St, St Pauls, NC 28384.