In Memoriam

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David Petri Pearson ’49

A picture of David Pearson

David Petri Pearson ’49, November 14, 2010, in Portland. Dave grew up in Portland, and started taking classes at Reed while attending Franklin High School. He was drafted during World War II, and returned to the college after the war to complete a BA in chemistry. Dave and Patricia M. Cowan ’49, who met at church in their teens, were married a week before commencement 1949. Dave went on to earn an MS from Oregon State University and a PhD from the University of Southern California in physical chemistry and became a research chemist with the Phillips Petroleum Company. Dave and Pat—who taught high school mathematics and was a pension actuary—had five children and lived in California, Idaho, and Oklahoma, before returning to Portland in 1969. Dave taught at Portland State University and Southern Oregon College and was a research associate at the Oregon Graduate Center, and then joined the analytical lab at Portland General Electric as a senior chemist; he retired in 1987. Dave's passion for skiing and mountain climbing began when he was a teen, and he made climbs throughout the northwestern U.S. and Canada with fellow climber Fred Ayres [chemistry, 1940–70] and other members of the Reed community. Through the years, Pat and Dave also enjoyed backpacking, fishing, and cruising on their sailboat between Portland and Juneau, Alaska. After retirement, they traveled to Italy, New Zealand, Chile, the Virgin Islands, and Hawaii; volunteered at their church and in their community; and spent time with their seven grandchildren. A year after Pat's death in 2006, Dave established the Pearson Family Scholarship in her memory and in honor of their children, Kathy Pearson ’77, Jim Pearson, Becky Hanchett, Kristy Pearson-Denning ’83, and Judy Pearson ’84, who survive him.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2011

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