John Francis Pearce
1941 - 2017
It is with sadness that I have to report the death in the early part of this year, of John Pearce, a Vice President and great stalwart of Kingston Rowing Club. He was educated at Kingston Grammar School and rowed in their 1st Eight whilst there taking a few years off when he left school, to study marine engineering at Tough Bros in Teddington. Upon completion of an apprenticeship with this company he returned to row at KRC. By this time, his father had firmly established Thames Ditton Marina and work commitments meant that John had less time to devote to his rowing. After a few years concentrating on work with the Marina, John joined his younger brother Peter who had since joined KRC, to row with him in a pair entering the Goblets at Henley Royal Regatta. The following year, both brothers teamed up with Peter and Geoff Risk to enter the Wyfolds at Henley Royal Regatta making the first time a pair of brothers had entered as a crew! After giving up rowing, he spent time as a coach with our highly successful Britannia Four, deputising for Ron Needs their coach, on the occasions when he was unable to get down to the Club.
In 1972, John joined his younger brother on the London to Monte Carlo power boat race. The family business had now developed a marine engine side under Peter and two of these engines were installed in a 31ft Fairey Huntsman with John and Peter forming part of the 3 man crew.
His passion for rowing was only matched by his love of sailing, and as a highly competent sailor, his services were very much in demand on many important sailing events. Among the more notable of these was a Fastnet race when his yacht finished the race, whilst 40% of the fleet had been retired through storm conditions.
By this time in his life, he was the Deputy Managing Director of Thames Ditton Marina and with the gradual retirement of his father, John then had to spend more of his time running the family business. The help and support he has given to KRC over the years has been immeasurable particularly whilst he was running the Marina,
Upon his retirement from the business, he moved down to the West Country, returning a few years later to live on the Isle of Wight. He surrounded himself by all things nautical, and his many friends both on and off the water will miss his cheerful and positive outlook on life; this was in spite of a long period of illness which saw him in and out of hospital over his latter years.
He leaves behind his partner Sue, his son Edward and daughter Anne and their families.