As a decorated Air Force pilot and a retired Mission Service Corps director, Col. Samuel Pepper Pearis IV’s work here is done.
Pearis died Sunday from Pulmonary Fibrosis, but his influence did not. After retiring from the Air Force after almost 27 years, he became the Mission Service Corps Director. Sonny Spurger, who knew Pearis before working together, recognized what Pearis did for the MSC.
“Others may have begun Mission Service Corps, but no one contributed more than Sam Pearis,” Spurger said in an e-mail. “What he didn’t initiate, he improved upon. He was a master at recruiting and training volunteer missionaries.”
Spurger said Pearis also incorporated his military training into his work style at MSC. He was a hard driver who liked things done a certain way, and most of the time he was right.
“Sam loved to start the day early and stay late,” Spurger said. “He always thought there was something that could be done on the way to the next thing. There was not a lazy bone in his body.”
Cecil Deadman, who knew Pearis since 1990 and worked with him for two years, agreed. He said Pearis might have been a workaholic, but he was a great, knowledgeable recruiter who had a lasting relationship with the volunteers. Deadman said Pearis knew the more than 1250 volunteers and could tell stories about most of them.
“He was one of the nicest guys you will ever know,” Deadman said.
Pearis was extremely passionate and would do whatever he could to get people to serve the Lord through MSC, said Dorothy Wilkinson, Pearis’s friend and co-worker. She knew him through the BGCT after he hired her, and she stayed friends with him from that point on.
“Sam was very dedicated to training the volunteers who served as leaders through MSC,” Wilkinson said. “He and his wife, Polly, who was a volunteer, gave their lives to the BGCT and Mission Service Corps.”
He was respected, honored and loved, Spurger said.
“There are people in the Kingdom today because of the faithful service of Sam Pearis,” Spurger said.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years Polly, his daughter Tamara, his son Barry, two brothers, six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.
Pearis wrote his own obituary, which makes sense to those who knew him best. He wanted to take care of everything, so he was working until the very end.
Viewing will be tonight from 5-9 p.m. at the Schertz Funeral Home, and the funeral service will be Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at FBC in Universal City.
Here is Pearis’s own obituary:
My day has come and I’m doing my last action for Polly here. She chose not to learn the computer (optimistically depending on me). Because of this, my final assignment is to announce my passing.
The attached Obituary has most of the details, and more will follow when known. Of course you are invited to the Viewing and Memorial Service. I’ll be at both of them. My demise was caused by Pulmonary Fibrosis, scarring in the lungs. If you are unfamiliar with this deadly disease, you can look it up on the Internet as I had to do. Or you can wait until we meet next time.
Thank you for making my life a more meaningful one. You helped me get my money’s worth in my 78 years.
Come see me. And if you Church of Christ people have trouble getting in, just tell the Gatekeeper that you are Baptist (doesn’t have to be “Southern” Baptist).
Thanks to my Grandson Dalton for help in sending this. If you wish to respond, the computer will be open for a few days. And then it CRASHES.
Note: All addresses and phone numbers will stay the same.