Major John Pearson
Major John Pearson was promoted to Glory Nov. 27 from Elk Grove, Calif.
Rune Johannes Persson was born in Solleron, Sweden, in 1924. His parents brought him and his younger sister, Eva, to America in 1929 and his name was changed to John R. (Rune) Pearson.
After a short time in Tacoma, Wash., the family moved to Denver, where Pearson attended The Salvation Army Scandinavian Corps. The bombing of Pearl Harbor happened about a year before his high school graduation. With the draft hanging over his head, Pearson joined the U.S. Maritime Service (Merchant Marines), serving as a radio officer on various ships in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans until the end of World War II.
Pearson met Captain Maizie Wilkins during a stopover in New Orleans and they married. About a year later John became a cadet at The Salvation Army Training College, leaving his bride, now a new mother, in Denver. John was commissioned in 1948, and with his wife, was sent to the Ballard (Seattle) Scandinavian Corps. Appointments followed in Salt Lake City; Sheridan, Wy.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Chico, Calif.; and Butte, Mt. He then served in the Men’s Social Services Department (ARC) in Los Angeles and San Francisco before two more corps appointments in Portland and San Diego, Calif. Pearson then had Finance Department appointments in the Southern California, Northwest and Southwest Divisions, as well as at Territorial Headquarters. His final appointment was to The Salvation Army Trade Department.
John’s wife Maizie was promoted to Glory in 1989, and he moved to Sacramento where, after six more months of active service, he retired. In June 1990, John married Captain Betty Kellerer, whom he met while they were both stationed at Territorial Headquarters. The two soldiered at the Sacramento Citadel Corps.
In his retirement, John felt the need to be active in his corps and found his place in the string band, playing at different times an accordion, mandolin, and the piano. He was the corps’ organist for many years, and also taught a Thursday night Bible Study for 17 years. His other interests included gardening, harvesting fruit, and woodworking. He also had a love of writing.
John is survived by his wife Betty, children Mary Ellen (Bill) Gochnauer, John David (Janis) Pearson, Janet (Jonathan) Knapp, stepdaughter Verna (Joe) Catalfano, sister Eva (Hank) Bentsen, and seven grandchildren.
The Sacramento Corps held a celebration of life service Dec. 14 with Captain David Kauffman presiding and Major Kenneth Osbourn bringing the message.