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October 29, 2010

Remembering Charlie Pierson: Archer, Bowyer, Coach and Friend

Note: USA Archery is grateful to Ms. Ann Clark for the use of her photo, and this adaptation of her eulogy for Charlie Pierson.

Charles "Charlie" Pierson passed away peacefully on October 6th, 2010, following a long illness.

A master craftsman and one of the nation's finest bowyers, Charlie was also a master flight shooter, having won many titles with the foot bow as well as establishing new distances in flight archery. His expertise playing "Archery Golf" made him a sought-after teacher for his technique at long distance shots with a hand-held flight bow of his design. His bows were famous among top flight archers, including Harry Drake and Dr. Bert Grayson. The unique design and exotic woods used by Charlie Pierson made many of his bows worthy of museum quality, including the famous "Sultan Bow."

Charlie's collection of antique bows, including Turkish bows, English longbows, crossbows, and foot bows, made him a sought-out collector and source of information. Charlie was also a collector of ancient release aids long before present day compound bow releases. His crested wooden arrows were regarded as beautiful and well made; these wood flight arrows were sought after the world over.

A lifetime member of Cincinnati's Winton Bowmen Archery Club, Charlie was also a leader in the formation of the Cincinnati Archers Club, known as the TCA. In Cincinnati's Tri-County area, Charlie built the first indoor archery range in the area, with the finest lighting available. It was at this range that Olympian Darrell Pace had his first encounter with the sport of archery, and as they say, "the rest is history." Pierson Archery was always seen at local sport shows and outdoor events with a hands-on shooting booth for all to try with the master himself on hand to teach the correct technique to shoot the bow.

Charlie and his wife Mildred were coaches at The World Archery Center (TWAC) as well as lecturers who worked to broaden the knowledge of would-be archery champions and instructors participating in all phases of the sport. Active at TWAC for over 50 years, Charlie and Mildred freely gave their time and archery equipment to a weekly Junior Olympic Archery Development program for the advancement of youth in archery in Cincinnati. 

Along with fellow Cincinnatians Klelus Wheatley, George Helwig, Ann Clark and Debbie Blum, Charlie and Mildred Pierson received the prestigious national JOAD Award in 1988. During his archery career, Charlie also assisted in the development of many world and national archery champions, including Olympian Darrell Pace, Doug Brothers, Nancy Vonderheid Kleinman, Debbie and Ann Clark, and Marueen Bechdolt. With Charlie's continued encouragement, many families became involved in competitive archery, attending local and national tournaments.

Charlie was a lifelong Quaker, and a member of The Society of Friends. He was a Conscientious Objector during World War II; while serving his country during the war, his time was spent at an Army Hospital in England caring for the wounded. Charlie was a quiet, humble man and a gentle person, one who always took time to help his fellow man, asking nothing in return. He will be missed by the many people who knew him, and benefited from his help.

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