Donald Michael Piercy, age 80, died peacefully at home on September 28, 2023. Born on February 4, 1943, Donald “Don” was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, teacher, coach, and friend. He touched the lives of many with kindness, patience, generosity, and a warm spirit.
Don was born to Alice and Melvin F. Piercy in Weehawken, New Jersey. He grew up in Cliffside Park, NJ, with his older brother Melvin W. Piercy. After graduating from Cliffside Park High School in 1960, he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in education from Montclair State University. Following graduation, he pursued a career in teaching high school math. He began teaching at North Bergen High School and was soon hired by the Ramapo-Indian Hills School District in Oakland, NJ. Don furthered his knowledge by earning his master’s degree at Montclair State University and continued to earn an additional 30 credits. He retired from Indian Hills High School as a member of the mathematics department, after a 43 year career. He demonstrated unwavering dedication and passion for his work as an educator until the day he died. This included time spent teaching in the classroom, tutoring in math and collegiate test prep, training athletes on the field as a cross country coach, and on the court as a basketball coach. He also became the ski club advisor, leading ski trips to various area mountains, and then substitute teaching after retirement to stay close to the kids he so enjoyed.
As a teen and young adult, he worked as a lifeguard at the Palisades Park pool for 10 years. After moving to Oakland, he was a town pool manager for Hasbrouck Heights and then Paramus during the summer. After that, he spent many hot and happy summer days with his friend, Ross Spalt, painting houses under their company name Think Paint for fourteen years. During the school year, Don enjoyed getting Dunkin Donuts coffee with his fellow math teacher, Bob Rubenstein. Don could always count on Joe Leicht, another math teacher, for any sports stats to complete the crossword puzzles.
In November 1994 he married Barbara Carr Piercy. Together they shared almost 29 years of joy, laughter, and companionship. He was a devoted and loving father to his children, and to his grandchildren, instilling in them the values of love, integrity, and hard work.
Don was a man of habit and routine, happy to sit with his coffee and NY Times Crossword Puzzle daily. He was an avid skier and runner, completing the NY City Marathon in 1983. He was a passionate high school and men’s league basketball referee for more than 35 years and watched every basketball game “through a ref’s eyes”. Don was particularly meticulous with his cars, but once he knew they were clean, he enjoyed every moment he could in the sun, preferably on a beach. He enjoyed music, had a beautiful voice, and played the piano. Don always made time for family and cherished the days when he could be on the sidelines watching his children and grandchildren play various sports. It did not matter if it was a soccer or lacrosse game, sitting in the stands of an ice rink for a hockey game, in the bleachers for a basketball game, folding chairs for a baseball game, or skiing down to watch a ski race, he enjoyed being there for every moment. He was so proud of them all.
Don was always willing to lend a hand and be there to help a friend in need. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. His legacy of love, kindness, patience, learning and laughter will continue to inspire us all.
Don is survived by his devoted wife, Barbara, and his loving children, daughter Doreen Piercy Hand and her husband Michael, son Mark Piercy and his wife Tara, son Michael Carr, and his adoring grandchildren Benjamin, Kyle, and Abigail Hand. He was predeceased by his parents, Alice Marie (Robinski) and Melvin Fauser Piercy, and brother Melvin William Piercy.
A memorial service to celebrate Don’s life with friends and family will be held on November 24, 2023, from 10 AM-12 PM at Oakland Memorial Home, 330 Ramapo Valley Road, Oakland, NJ 07436.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to the American Heart Association at [www.heart.org/donate] or to the newly created Donald M. Piercy Memorial Scholarship Fund at [http://www.dmpscholarship.com], which will provide financial assistance to a graduating Indian Hills or Ramapo High School student pursuing a career in education who demonstrates a passion for math and commitment to learn.
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”