Verl Woolley Pearce, age 86, passed away peacefully at home on Nov. 13, 2023, in St. George, Utah, surrounded by his wife and children. He was born on July 11, 1937, to William Edward and Marguerett Woolley Pearce in Vernal, Utah. When he was 2 years old, the family moved to Lynwood, California, eventually settling in Downey, California. Verl attended Downey High School excelling in basketball, football and track and field.
He was active in different clubs in high school (Sword & Shield, Lettermen’s, Viking Pep, Boys Glee and Bible Clubs). Verl continued playing basketball for Compton College then Cerritos College, before serving a two-year mission to Uruguay for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1958-60. Upon his return, he attended the University of Oregon.
Verl also served his country as a California Army National Guardsman and Reservist for almost 11 years from 1968-78. Although Verl did not serve in a wartime situation, his unit was called up to help with the Watts Riots. He often described the scene as chaotic and war-like, with thousands of people running around, businesses being looted and buildings on fire.
On July 29, 1962, Verl married Nina Kathleen Rokes in the Los Angeles LDS Temple and welcomed four beautiful children Lisa, Greg, Julie and Richard. Verl worked for Rockwell (formerly North American Aviation) for many years, taking a brief hiatus to work in the restaurant industry before returning to and retiring from Rockwell. In 1982, Verl and Kathy divorced. Verl met and married his second wife Helen Michaels and they lived in Westminster, California and then Las Vegas, Nevada, where he became a certified home inspector. Verl and Helen divorced in 1997.
In 2002, Verl met Denise Henry through mutual church friends. They had been in the same social circle and attending the same functions but had never officially met. It was after a night of bowling with friends, that Verl, while the group was making plans for their next activity, asked Denise, “What do I have to do to get on your calendar?” Denise’s response was simple, “Just ask.” And ask he did.
A favorite memory of Denise’s was getting to see Verl every Wednesday evening at the Las Vegas LDS Temple where he worked the recommend desk. Denise would hurry to finish her workday and rush to get to the temple. She remembers she would always pause at the door to the temple and take a deep breath before entering. As she walked in and then turned the corner, she would smile as she would see Verl there waiting with a twinkle in his eye.
It was a beautiful courtship that started as friendship and grew into love through conversation, mutual respect,
kindness, and patience. On Oct. 8, 2005, Verl and Denise were sealed for time and all eternity in the Las Vegas LDS Temple surrounded by family and friends.
After he retired a second time, Verl and Denise moved to St. George, Utah, where he enjoyed spending time with his family and making new friends. He loved working in the St. George Temple baptistery and loved to talk about the gospel to anyone who would listen. His favorite pastime was watching the USC Trojans and LA Lakers games with his brother Mason and nephew, Craig.
His final days were spent surrounded by family and friends sharing lots of love, laughter and memories. Verl is survived by his wife Denise, children Brian Chapman (April), Lisa Pearce, Greg Pearce, Julie Pearce (Kenny Amaon), Richard Pearce (Carolyn), stepchildren Mark Henry (Malinda), Shawn Henry (Shelley), Victoria Bunnell (Nate), his sister, Annalea Kendell, numerous nieces, and nephews, 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents William and Marguerett Pearce, his brothers Dellas, Callas, Arlo and Mason Pearce and his sister Neita Carpenter Shafter.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m. in the LDS Chapel located at 1625 Lava Flow Drive, St. George.