Pierce Boadman Tidwell, Sr.
August 23, 1921 - July 1, 2012
(by Bo Tidwell)
I am broadcasting this to all my email buddies. Some of you may know by now that my father, Pierce, passed away in his sleep last night. He always said that this was how he wanted to go and the Good Lord worked it out for him. I think it was my friend Philip who said today that this was his reward from God for all those years he took such good care of Mom. Maybe it was Philip; maybe it was someone else. It's been kind of a blur today, but whoever said it was really on the mark.
Pierce had a typical great day yesterday (Saturday). In fact, every day was a great day for Pierce. He made it that way. He told me that he waked up at 5:15 AM because he knew he had to be at the Methodist parsonage at 8 AM to show the volunteers how to prune the azaleas (the ones he planted over 40 years ago). So he said he just went ahead and got up. Then he proceeded to his morning appointment at the parsonage; later got the mail and brought it to me at the office.
Next, he volunteered to get lunch for us, and he and I split a salad at the office together. I wish I had known that it would be the last time I would see him.
Then last night, he and friend Ann Garner went to their weekly get together at the concert in Hollonville. I guess that's a pretty full day for most people, not to mention a 90 year old. But Pierce was not your average guy and certainly not your average 90 year old.
The day before, he had picked a "mess" of butterbeans (that he had grown this spring), shelled them, and cooked them plus some corn bread to go with them, to send home with Pam and me that night. He did things like this so often that we sometimes forgot to even thank him because it was so routine with him. We will never know how many bluebird houses he built and gave away or how many tomato plants he grew and gave away, or how many baskets and bushels of the surplus from his annual mega-garden he delivered to friends and little old ladies around town. Only God knows because Pierce didn't keep score.
I guess what I am trying to say is that Pierce had a very fulfilling 90 years on this earth, up until his last breath. He showed us how to live and he showed us how to give. He was the very best Father anyone could have ever asked for. And the best husband. And the best Grandfather. And the best neighbor. And the best friend. He and Mom were certainly my best friends and the two finest people and role models I have ever known.
I will close with a toast I proposed a few years ago:
Here's To My Father,
A Great American and a member of the Greatest Generation, who sacrificed
the hearing in his left ear in WW II and never complained one second or asked to be compensated in any way; the finest Coast Guardsman who ever walked the streets of Shanghai or talked his way out of the brig on the coast of Morocco (the night he accidentally filled his canteen with cognac instead of water), or sneaked his bed sheets out (somehow concealing them under his uniform) to sell to the Arabs for cigarette money; a man shrewd enough to buy a used Harley when he came up short of enough money to buy a car, who then learned how to ride it on the 360 mile trip back to port in Charleston, and a man wise enough to make the right choice when he had to decide between his Harley or Virginia. A man who was in the Top Ten in his 11th grade graduating class (of five) and who then proceeded to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks, as he and Virginia used their initiative and sweat and self-education to build a respected business from scratch.
Here's to you and here's hoping that more of us from the Boomer Generation might live up to the high bar that has been set before us.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made in honor of Pierce to the Wounded Warrior Project,www.woundedwarriorproject.org or the Greenville United Methodist Church,www.greenvilleumc.net. Either one would make Pierce very happy.
Thank you all for being my friends and family and for keeping us in your prayers.
Services for Mr. Tidwell are planned for Friday, July 6 at 2 PM at the Methodist Church on the square in Greenville, GA with reception following at the Tidwell home on Forrest Road (8 miles north of town).