Wigmore Alling Pierson, age 72, died Tuesday after a year-long standoff with a variety of illnesses that tried to lay him low. Wig left this world exactly the way he wanted to: at his Hull home, at peace and surrounded by his wife, Molly, and children Beth, Morgan and Jack.
Wig was best known locally as the host of cable talk-show "Pierson to Person", which was broadcast live from Scituate every Thursday for 10 years. His enthusiasm and boundless curiosity attracted guests from local Cohasset luminaries to statewide political figures like Billy Bulger and Bill Weld to wrestler"Killer"Kowalski and boxer Peter McNeely. Wig, his future wife, Molly, who worked for the Patriot Ledger and Cohasset Mariner editor Mary Ford, had a great time for years disporting themselves as the "Cohasset media giants".
But Wig's real love was politics, local or national. He got a degree in political science from Lake Forest College in Illinois and then served in the Peace Corps in Peru for two years. When he returned, Wig ran twice for state representative from Newton.To his great surprise, this 20-something Republican running in what was then a heavily Democratic town, lost. Undaunted, he moved to Washington D.C. where he founded a career counseling firm and was thrilled to serve as a presidential advanceman to President Gerald Ford. During his 22 years in Cohasset, he jumped into the political scene with both feet, joining town boards, running for office twice and working behind the scenes on many campaigns. Another enthusiasm was history--his own, his town's, the country's. Wig, a descendant of William Brewster, was a proud member and past governor of the Massachusetts Mayflower Society.
In Cohasset, he served on the historical commission and as chairman of the committee that produced the third volume of the Narrative History of Cohasset. He maintained such a comprehensive collection of presidential literature and memorabilia that his library sports the Presidential Seal. Wig also bribed each of his kids to memorize all the presidents in order.
Wig's real talent may have been for friendship. He kept in touch with boyhood friends from Newton, classmates from Buckingham Browne Nichols, fraternity brothers from Lake Forest College, fellow Peace Corps volunteers, the production crew from "Pierson to Person", Mayflower members from all over the country , and dear friends gathered from two decades in Cohasset. He was a larger than life figure who will be missed by those he touched across the country. Wig was born in Oakland, California, to Merlin A. and Janice W. Pierson and was raised in Newton. He was a loving husband to Molly (Hochkeppel) Pierson; devoted Dad to Elizabeth Brundage, Morgan Wigmore and Jack Benham Civita Pierson; super stepdad to Kurt, Glen, Matt and Zach Hochkeppel and their spouses Kelly, Sarah, Kendra and Caitlin; loving"Grampy" to Cole, Finn, Ella, Mimi, Carisa, Myrna, Rosey and Shane Hochkeppel; he is also survived by cousins Jean Koenig and Ruth Wetmore, their spouses and children.
There will be a memorial service at 5 p.m. Friday at the Second Congregational Church, 43 Highland Ave., Cohasset. Reception will follow. Arrangements will be through McNamara Sparrell Funeral Home, Cohasset