Retired Toy Industry Executive, 4th Degree Grand Knight, Beloved Husband, Father and Grandfather
Fred Pierce passed away in Naples Florida on March 20, 2020. He was born on December 7, 1936 in Chicago Illinois to Marjorie and Frederick Baie Pierce.
He was raised in Chicago, Illinois graduating high school at 16. He then entered Quigley Preparatory Seminary for 2 years, before deciding that having a family was important to him. He graduated Loyola University Chicago in 1959 and enlisted in the Navy. He was briefly a professional bowler and once bowled Carmen Salvino in the finals of a tournament on TV. Fred followed his father into the toy industry, starting at Ideal Toy. He later moved on to Topper toys and enjoyed sponsoring Al Unser Sr. in his 1973 Indianapolis 500 win in the Johnny Lightening car, watching from the pit. Afterwards Fred was Sr. VP of Sales at Mego International. Traveling to Hong Kong and Japan frequently, Fred made life-long friends and would bring back treasures and stories to share with his family. He even had a game that was sold commercially named after him - "Fabulous Fred". Fred travelled the world and met interesting people and he would tell stories about it until the end of his life.
In the mid 80’s, Fred was approached by a friend to partner in an advertising agency and Graham Pierce Associates was formed in Mountainside NJ. Specializing in auto dealerships was right up Fred's alley as he had always been passionate about cars. The agency was successful until Fred retired when he was 70.
No longer working in Manhattan allowed Fred to become involved again in the Knights of Columbus, which he had joined in 1959 in Oak Park Il. He served as Grand Knight of Summit NJ Council 783 from 1994-1995. During his term he initiated the Project to the Unborn, and a monument stands in St. Teresa of Avila's parish cemetery today. He became a Sir Knight in The Fourth Degree in 1989. He remained active in the Knights as long as he was able and established enduring friendships.
While his professional life changed through the years, his personal life did not. He met Carole Brady in 1963 at Ideal Toy and proposed on their second date. It was a love affair that lasted until the end. Carole and Fred settled in Summit NJ in 1967 and spent 34 years there. Despite a crazy work schedule, Fred made time for Indian Guides/Princesses, Little League, coached bowling, and attended his children's and grandchildren's events with great enjoyment over the years. Fred continued to bowl in leagues and carry a high average well into his 60's. Downsizing to Morristown NJ they made new friends at Dorset Hollow and spent winters in Naples Florida.
Fred was a passionate sports fan of the New York Giants and Tiger Woods. He was a rock-ribbed Republican and not afraid to share his opinions. Fred and Carole enjoyed tennis and golf. Many of their friends were made at the Crestview Club and Fairmont CC in NJ and later at Naples Heritage GC. He was a whiz at crosswords and Jeopardy and he loved cars. Fred was skilled at telling jokes, and always had one at the ready. He enjoyed conversations with friends from around the world, as he was a student of history and politics. He liked to consider how the world might look in the future. Sometimes he was right and perhaps he still will be. He was much loved and will be greatly missed by his friends and family.
Fred is survived by his wife of 56 years Carole Pierce, his son Fred and his wife Cathy (Musto), his daughter Caroline Maldonado and her husband Andrew, and 5 grandchildren Kevin and Ashley Pierce and Michael, Peter and Sarah Maldonado.
A celebration of Fred's life will be held in September in NJ. Memorial donations may be made to Tri-County Scholarship Fund, 14 West Main St. Mendham NJ 07945 (or at tcsfund.org/Pierce) to help needy inner-city New Jersey children to attend safe values-based schools. For online condolences visit www.Fullernaples.com