In the early hours of December 31, 2012, Pearl Lois Nielsen Heer, at her home on the Arroyo Seco, encircled by love, surrounded by family as they gently released her hand, was able to reach and touch “the hand of God.”
She started her walk on this “solid sod” in Salinas on May 22, 1920. The youngest of seven, Pearl was born into the pioneer Danish family of Claudius and Christina Nielsen, whose Salinas roots date back to the 1880s. She was preceded in death by her siblings, Mamie Hazdovac, Earl Nielsen, Mildred Rosendale, Clara Brandt, Harold Nielsen; and survived by her devoted sister, Gladys E. Lovelady, who enjoys an active life in her home in Salinas.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Alphonse J. Heer, a descendent from another pioneer Salinas family. This family includes her late in-laws, Ralph and Marie Cosseboom, and their son, Gary.
The family left to honor her memory and miss her sparkle and sweet smile include her seven children: Larry (Rhona) of Carnelian Bay, Pat (Mark) Anderson of Lynden, Wash., Tim (Natalie) of Santa Cruz, Jana (Doug) Glovaski of Pacific Grove, Dennis (Lydia) of Arroyo Seco, Judi (George) of Spreckels, and Colleen (Mark) Cave of Creston; eight grandchildren: Kris (Matt), Laurie, Jake (Taryn), Tiffanie (Neil), Thor (Samantha), Erik, Timothy Jr. (Breann) and Jesse; seven great-grandchildren: Katie, Alexa, Lauryssa, Steven, Hailie, David and Nathan. She also leaves many cousins, nieces, nephews and lifetime friends, spanning several generations. Her loving son-in-law, James Wadsworth of Greenfield, passed away in 1992.
Pearl devoted her life to raising her busy family. Waiting until the youngest was in college, she returned to Hartnell College, and earned her L.V.N. She was employed at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City, where she was assigned to the maternity ward to lovingly care for the new babies as they came into the world. Her creative life included oil painting and poetry in addition to finding success as a published writer. She was the author of the Arroyo Seco Report, published in the South County Newspapers for several years. Her poetry also appeared in the Coyote Bark and the Poetry Shell. The following is from a collection of Pearl’s lovely poems and prayers: “... I walk with the ghost of yearning, My feet touch solid sod, While my soul lifts ever onward, To reach the hand of God.” PLH
Over the past 60 years, together with her husband, Pearl was an active member in many local organizations, including the Danish Ladies Society Dannebrog; the Arroyo Seco Citizens Association, Silver Kings and Queens of King City and the Museum of Monterey formerly known as the Maritime Museum.
Her family wishes to express their praise and appreciation to: Martha Wilbourn, Delia Nava, VNA & Hospice, and the Arroyo Seco Volunteer Fire Department. Their care and understanding made Pearl and her family’s journey comfortable, safe and less troubled.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 West San Luis St., Salinas, CA 93901.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to any of the following organizations: Dannebrog Scholarship Fund, 487 Paradise Park, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, or VNA & Hospice, 45 Plaza Circle, Salinas, CA 93901.
Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. Online condolences to www.struveandlaporte.com.