Doc Pearson was a man of firsts
SPRINGFIELD, MO — The Evangel University family is mourning the passing of Dr. Donald “Doc” Pearson, one of the first employees hired at what was then Evangel College. He passed away Thursday, July 28, 2016, at the age of 85.
Pearson joined the faculty at the end of the school’s first year in 1956 and served for 37 years. He started the Physical Education program at Evangel and served as its only PE teacher for four years.
He was the first men’s basketball coach and also served as the first athletic director, a title he held for 17 years. During his tenure, Pearson coached baseball, track, tennis, cross-country and wrestling.
In addition, he began the intramural sports program and oversaw it from 1956-1964.
A highlight of his career was co-coaching the first undefeated team for any sport at Evangel. Pearson and Cliff Creek led the men’s track team to a 10-0 record in 1966.
Pearson was honored at Homecoming 1981 by the Evangel Alumni Association with its “Distinguished Service Award,” and at Homecoming 2010 by the planting of a tree with a brass plaque during the annual “Trees of Honor” ceremony.
Doc Pearson retired from Evangel in 1993.
“I owe my career at Evangel to Doc hiring me in 1976 to teach physical education courses,” said Dr. David Stair, who retired in 2014 following a 38-year career at EU, 32 of which he served as director of athletics.
“I have many fond memories of Doc, Lynn Bowen and me jogging the streets of Springfield on many of our lunch hours,” said Stair. “Doc was an extremely kind man, with a great sense of humor. His retirement from Evangel was a sad day for all.”
Pearson earned his B.S. in Physical Education from Kansas State College in 1953, his Master’s in Education from the University of Kansas in 1958, and his Doctorate in Education from the University of Arkansas in 1966.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Georgia, a long-term member of the Evangel Ladies Auxiliary and a retiree from the Assemblies of God Credit Union.
He is survived by his son Jim (and Denise) Pearson of Steamboat Springs, Colo., daughter Jane (and Jerry) Renner of Marshfield, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
UPDATE: A graveside service was held at Greenlawn North on Saturday, August 6, 2016. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. Don Pearson Scholarship Fund at Evangel University, 1111 N. Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802.
The Physical Education program is now know as the Department of Kinesiology.