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Mary Sadler Nelson Pierce, 82, joined the Lord in His home on Saturday, February 6, 2016. A native of Western North Carolina, Mary was born on March 5, 1933. She met her husband, Bennie in Banner Elk, NC., where her father was president of Lees-McCrae College and Bennie was a professor. They were married in Banner Elk and moved to Kingsport in 1956 where they came to love this city and its people.

She received her undergraduate in Home Economics and Textiles from the University of Tennessee where she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. Mary worked at Eastman Chemical in Textile Research and later taught school at the Kingsport Alternative School.

Mary was a very active member of First Presbyterian Church Kingsport for 60 years and dedicated much of her life to the church. She was a deacon, an elder, a former president of the Women of the Church and taught Sunday School at every level in the church.

Mary became an ardent University of Tennessee basketball fan, and she and Bennie held season tickets together with three other beloved couples for 50 years. Mary was accomplished at cooking, baking, painting, sewing and knitting. She and Bennie were members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild based on their extraordinary skill in basket making. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren on the family farm in Mountain City, TN. Mary was an avid tennis player and an active member of several bridge clubs that she cherished. Mary and Bennie did all things together and were rarely separated. Mary was known for her unflagging love and concern for people and was grateful for many friendships that lasted for decades.

She was preceded in death by her parents Dr. Fletcher Nelson, Sr. and Murphy Nelson; and her only brother, Fletcher Nelson, Jr.

Mary is survived by her devoted husband, Bennie Pierce of Kingsport, TN; and by her children, Hugh Pierce, Cliff Pierce, Dr. Fletcher Pierce (Carrie), Mary-Elizabeth Pierce Kappert (Jeff); and her grandchildren, Fletcher Pierce Jr., Frances Pierce, Avery Pierce, Libby Pierce, Katherine Grace Kappert, and Pierce Kappert.

The family will receive friends at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home on Monday, February 8, from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, with The Rev. Dr. David A. Cagle and The Rev. Sharon Amstutz officiating.

A family burial will follow in Butler, TN.