Tracy Lamar (McWhirter) Pearce passed away December 16, 2020 at her home in Luther, Oklahoma. A resident of Oklahoma since 1994, Tracy was born in El Paso, Texas, to Clara Bowles and Howard Warren McWhirter on November 26, 1958.
During her youth, Tracy moved to Modesto, California, and attended Wilson Elementary School and Beyer High School. After high school, Tracy was blessed with two children, Chenoa and Dirk Pearce. Over the years, Tracy worked for Gallo Glass and took on smaller jobs, including housekeeping and hotel cleaning. Then she found her dream job working as the Head Custodian for Chisholm Elementary School in Edmond, Oklahoma. Tracy took pleasure in telling family and friends about all the wonderful teachers, administrators, and school children she met while working for the school district.
In 1987, Tracy found a love that few are blessed enough to experience when she met her lifelong love, Kathy Roberts, in Atwater, CA. Together they built a life brimming with love, laughter, and commitment. In 1994, the pair moved across the country in search of their forever home and landed in Luther, OK, making the small southern town their own. Over the years, Tracy made many friends she considered family and found a career she was passionate about.
Tracy was a true southern lady—and in that fashion, she never met a stranger who did not become a friend. She enjoyed mornings on her deck, watching her hummingbirds come and go, as she sipped her sugar and cream-filled coffee. In the afternoons and evenings, Tracy could be found in the same spot, enjoying a good ole bologna sandwich with original potato chips—with Kathy by her side. Tracy also enjoyed traveling, fishing, camping, gardening, and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.
She is survived by her daughter Chenoa Sterling (Matt), and son Dirk Pearce (Janna Donelli); grandchildren Clayton Pearce, Haleigh Viola Pearce, Aaron and Cody Sterling; as well as her godson, Kiefer Pigott and brother, Howard McWhirter. She is preceded in death by her beloved partner of twenty-five years, Kathy Roberts, and her parents, Clara Bowles and Howard McWhirter.
Tracy’s Family and Friends’ Fondest Memories
From Chenoa Sterling:
My bologna has a first name,
My bologna has a second name,
Oh, I love to eat it every day,
And if you ask me why I’ll say,
Cause’ Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!!!!
I know this is an unusual memory and not something that would come to one’s mind when they think of their mother, but this song is one of my fondest memories. It describes my mother as she truly was; she wasn’t always perfect or fancy, but she was the best. She was perfect to me. We both loved our bologna-and-cheese sandwiches. We both loved to live our lives pleasing others in such a way that brought us happiness. The memories I have of my mom could go on and on for pages without an end. Yet, I’m tasked with summing up her life—our relationship, what she taught me as a woman and mother, and the legacy she leaves behind—in a few sentences. That is an impossible task. Our many road trips together; our long conversations on the phone about the stupidest things. These are two things I will miss the most. I could always count on my mom to be ready for a trip or talk with me late into the night when I needed an ear to listen.
Some of my fondest memories are my summer trips to Oklahoma. Clayton and I would spend weeks every summer lounging on her deck, picnicking with her friends, buying fireworks, and swimming in her pool. My mom taught Clayton to swim in her pool when he was two. They were both so proud of how he learned to swim in less than a week. On the morning we were set to depart, my mom and I were loading the car and ready to leave for the airport when both of us realized Clayton wasn’t in the car. My mom panicked and rushed back into the house, but it was empty. It was only when she burst through the back door, she found Clayton treading water in the pool with my mom’s dog. Without thought, my mom jumped into the pool—clothes and all. In the end, both Clayton and my mom were soaked, but we were all laughing.
This moment describes my mom perfectly. She wasn’t scared of anything, despite her rough childhood and the bumps she’d faced during her adult life. Her love knew no limits. I will cherish every moment that we had together—never forgetting our long phone conversations and many trips. Thank you for being not only my mom but my best friend. The bologna to my cheese.
From Dirk Pearce:
After moving to Oklahoma, my mom and I lived close to one another and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. One of my favorite memories was the time I found a baby bird and bought it inside her house. I’ve never seen her freak out before that moment, except the time we went fishing, and I grabbed a thin stick and threw it at her feet and yelled, “snake.”
One of the moments I’ll never forget was our trip to Oregon. Aaron and I were riding in the back of her car, and she was whipping around on the winding, long roads at sixty-five miles per hour. We eventually had to have the car towed because it broke down. Life should always be an adventure—that’s what my grandmother taught me.
From Kiefer Pigott:
Tracy loved watching the hummingbirds fly outside her windows. She and I would sit at the blue house watching them buzz here and there for hours.
From Matt Sterling:
I have many good memories with Tracy, but the best will always be the vacation we took earlier this year. Chenoa, Tracy, and I took a 7000 miles road trip in two weeks. Tracy sat in the backseat of our Mazda, and anyone would have sworn we were in a rolling comedy club. We laughed about everything from the ringtone on her phone to her peeing inside the car in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska because she couldn’t get her butt scooted far enough out on the ledge of the car. We saw so many wonderful sights from the St. Louis Arch to Mount Rushmore. We got to see the world’s largest rocking chair on Route 66 and laughed about how we didn’t see one single cow in all of Wisconsin. We even got to feed some prairie dogs. I can’t think of the last time I’ve had that much fun. I am so fortunate to have spent that time with her, seeing half the country. Those are the memories that will last a lifetime.
From Janna Donelli:
My fondest memories with Tracy were the simplest. We shared a common affection for coffee and conversations. We spent hours and hours sipping from our steaming mugs of rich coffee and discussing life—the ups, the downs, the laughs, and most of all, the love we’d both found in our lives.
From Donna Hudelson Bebout:
Tracy looked out for those she loved and counted as friends and family. I was blessed to be one of those people. She always looked out for me. One time I was home with the flu, and they were having a pizza party at school. She left school and brought me pizza. She took such good care of all of us and the school. She was very proud of her place within the school district. I loved that after we both retired, she would come over, and we would sit on the porch and drink coffee. I’m gonna miss her so much. Farewell, my friend.
From Jeremy Birl Ring:
Tracy and I fought constantly over Trump and Biden. She took our battle to the next level when she dressed as Trump for my birthday party—complete with a mask and all. Even though she was a Biden supporter. Her greatest joy in life was making others laugh.
From Birlene Langley:
Tracy and I have known one another since she moved into the house across the street from me in Luther. Over the years we became closer than best friends. We’ve shared many laughs as well as many tears. It is difficult to pick one special moment from the millions we’ve shared in our decades-long friendship; however, one does come to mind. A couple years ago, Tracy’s favorite football team, the Titans, beat my favorite, the Cowboys. To celebrate, Tracy mooned Jeremy and I from her front porch—in broad daylight. That is a memory I will never forget. I can’t fathom my life without her in it.