In Memory: Alan Pierce

September 4, 2018


Plant Pathology Scientist Alan Pierce

Alan Pierce, Carol Windels and Professor Emeritus Carl Eide in 1983. Photo taken in the old glasshouse attached to the west end of Stakman Hall. That area is now the entrance to Borlaug Hall.


Alan Pierce worked in the department as a scientist on the nematology project with Dr. David McDonald from 1974 through 1990. Alan passed away on July 27, 2018 in Austin, Texas. 

For those who had the privilege of working with and knowing Alan he was a delight. He had a sage sense of humor, and an insight into the human condition that was unmatched. People gravitated to Alan. He radiated kindness and always had a friendly smile and kind word and perhaps a story for them. Alan was well loved and a highly influential member of the department, as well as a strong advocate for equality and diversity and inclusion.

In 1990 Alan left the department and changed careers. In 1993 he became a registered psychiatric nurse. He and his wife Linda moved to Santa Fe New Mexico where Alan was in charge of an Alzheimer’s Living Center. He had a passion for people and for research in Santa Fe which he excelled at until retirement in December of 2017.

He is survived by his beloved spouse of 48 years, Linda VanBroeke-Pierce. They made a lovely home in Austin, TX since 2003. Alan especially enjoyed the Austin music scene and the natural world. Alan loved motorcycles and they were his favorite form of transportation. He was also an avid runner and in 1977 he ran in Grandma's Marathon held on Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior. 

His humor and storytelling, as well as dedication to the mission of the department, were legendary. He will always be remembered fondly, which is his greatest legacy.