Etherlene Carter Pearce, 94, passed away Saturday, November 1, 2014 at her home surrounded by her loving family. Etherlene was born April 1, 1920 in Wake County to the late Joe Bertie Carter and Rosa Gay Carter. She graduated from Wendell High School in 1937 and moved to New Jersey to work as a nursing aide. She married the late John Q. “Jake” Pearce Sr. and came back to Wake County to continue her career in healthcare. Etherlene joined Hilltop Home in 1960 where she worked as a nurse. In 1973 she received her Licensed Practical Nurse certification from W. W. Holding. In 1976 she became executive director of Hilltop Home and dedicated her career of over 49 years to providing compassionate care for mentally and physically fragile children. Her work ethic inspired people half her age. She never missed work: rain, sleet or snow and was never late for any occasion. When parents placed their children at Hilltop Home she always said: “Thank you for letting us love your child.” On April 30, 2006, Etherlene was recognized as Tar Heel of the Week by the News & Observer. She was treasurer of the N.C. Association of Residential Resources where she was a member since its inception over 30 years ago. She was a faithful member of Longview Baptist Church.
Etherlene is survived by her children: John Q. Pearce Jr. (Kitty) of Fuquay-Varina, Judy P. Radigan (Bob) of Mesa AZ, and Sandy C. Pearce (Tom Havener) of Cary; grandchildren: Greg Pearce, Robert Larrison Jr. (Katrina), and Bryant Pearce; great-grandchildren: Jacob Pearce, Michaela Larrison, Robert Larrison III, Jasmine Barbour (Michael), Stone Pearce, Bryson Pearce, Avery Pearce, and Gracie Pearce; great-great-grandchildren: Allison and Luke Barbour; sisters: Pauline C. Bracy of Mountain Home ID, and Cleo C. Bunn of Wendell.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a grandson David Pearce; sisters Margaret Jeffreys, Louise Starnes, Pearl Wood, and Winnie C. Houchin; brothers John, Joe, Cecil, and Clifton Carter.
A service to celebrate her life will be held at 2:00 pm, Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at Longview Baptist Church, 2308 New Hope Road, Raleigh, NC 27604. A private burial will be held at Montlawn Memorial Park prior to the funeral service. The family will receive relatives and friends from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at L. Harold Poole Funeral Service, 944 Old Knight Road, Knightdale, NC 27545.
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A special thanks to caregivers Ashley Abarca and Transitions LifeCare Hospice.
Etherlene requested memorial contributions be made to Hilltop Home, 2820 Kidd Road, Raleigh NC 27610.
Condolences to the family may be sent to poolefuneral.com under Obituaries.