With heavy hearts, our family announces the sudden passing of Franklin ‘Jack’ Pierce, 85, on November 22, 2022, in Atikokan.

Jack was born on May 24, 1937, in Fort Frances, Ontario, to Charles Thomas Pierce and Lenore Pierce (Strain). The family later moved to Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Jack met Shirley Marlene Coderre in Emo, Ontario, in 1956 and they married on June 14, 1958, in Atikokan. During their sixty years of marriage, they resided in Atikokan and there raised their four daughters.

Jack left school and joined the Air Force in his late teens. Once his term was completed, he took a job delivering milk and bread. His life changed when he came to a ball tournament in Atikokan in the late nineteen-fifties and never left. Steep Rock Iron Mines was recruiting at the ballpark and Jack took the bait. It was the start of a wonderful life in this amazing town.

He later took a position at Caland Ore where he enjoyed his work until the closure in 1979. Concurrently, Jack and Shirley purchased Saturn Trailer Park and ran it for many years as a family business. His entrepreneurial spirit continued as he invested in businesses such as Hemiwood Ltd., Quality Classic Replicars (Canada) Inc., Pierce Electric, and Nelson Homes.

His commitment to Atikokan was solidified with his election to municipal council where he enjoyed terms as a councillor and then reeve. In 1985, he was elected to Ontario Legislature as MPP for the Rainy River District. Jack was successful in passing a Bill requiring health authorities to track adverse effects of immunizations and to advise parents of possible adverse effects.

Jack’s contributions to the Lions Club earned him a lifetime membership. From building floats, to flipping hamburgers, to Franklin ‘Jack’ Pierce singing in minstrel shows, anything that needed to be done, Jack was there. Jack and Shirley extended their commitment by searching for Lions Clubs around the world and finding ways to contribute on an international scale.

Throughout the years, Jack took great pride in his various roles with the United Steelworkers union, Atikokan Chamber of Commerce, Atikokan Economic Development Corp., and various other boards and committees.

Jack and Shirley valued the opportunity to travel throughout Canada, the U.S.A., Taiwan, Spain, Hawaii, Portugal, Mexico, South Africa, and Australia. He was an avid curler and hockey player for many years. He enjoyed golfing, hunting Manitoba geese and ducks, fishing, camping, tinkering and fixing anything with a mechanism, gear or spark plug, and gardening with his beloved wife.

First and foremost, family was his number one priority. We all knew we were supported and loved throughout our many trials and tribulations, successes, and adventures. He was our rock. He embodied the definition of honesty, integrity, kindness, unconditional love, and compassion. We were blessed to have him as our father, (great) grandfather, our mentor, and our friend.

Jack leaves behind his four loving daughters Janice James (Donald St. Pierre), Brenda Pierce, Patty (David) DeGagne, Linda (Phil) Heyes; devoted grandchildren Robert Pierce, Matthew James, Brittany (Jared) Slaff, Zachary Fulton, Shawn (Sara) DeGagne, Kevin (Katie) DeGagne, Emily Heyes and Jason Heyes; great-grandchildren Jackson Pierce and Colton DeGagne; siblings JoAnn (Rod) Ferguson, Douglas (Julie) Pierce, and Marlene (Norrie) MacDonald and their families; sisters-in-law Doreen, Lois, and Jackie Coderre; and many nieces and nephews.

Jack was predeceased by his sweetheart Shirley Marlene Pierce (Coderre); his parents; and his eldest brother (Keith).

The Celebration of Life will be held at the Riverview United Church, Atikokan, on December 3, at 4:00 p.m. Fellowship and ‘Happy Hour’ at the Legion Hall will follow, where anyone is invited to share memories, in an open mic forum.

Arrangements are being handled by Northwest Funeral Alternative of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to benefit the Lions Vision Care Centre at (On the site, ‘Funds’ select ‘Other’ and indicate ‘Lions Vision Care Centre.’ Recipient name Janice James ( and we will receive notification of your gift.

Forever in our hearts

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