Dr. Lois Mabel (Craig) Pearce was born in North Gower, Ontario on the 27th of May, 1920. Dr. Pearce was the eldest of 4 children born to Newman Russell Craig and the former Margaret Ethel White. Her father was an insurance agent and her siblings were; Joyce Margaret Craig, Keith Newman Craig and Kenneth R. Craig. The Craig family moved to Toronto while Dr. Pearce was still quite young. She attended Runnymede Public School, followed by Humberside Collegiate Institute in Toronto.
After high school Dr. Pearce attended the Toronto Normal School. She graduated in 1938 with a teaching certificate. She then spent the following two years teaching school in Thessalon, Ontario hoping to save enough money to return to school and study medicine. It was a Sunday school teacher, who had served as a medical missionary in India, that inspired Dr. Pearce to become a physician.
In 1940, Dr. Lois Pearce enrolled in the medical program at The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. While in medical school, she also joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. Due to the war, her medical class studied year round and she graduated in 1945. She completed an internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Her first medical practice was in Balcarres, Saskatchewan, where she practiced for two years. It was there that she met her future husband, Richard John Pearce. They were married in Balcarres on the 19th of December, 1947.
Mr. Pearce was born in Saskatchewan on the 4th of September, 1921. Mr Pearce was the youngest of 2 children born to Stanley L. Pearce and the former Alena McLean. He had a sister named Madeleine Annie Pearce. Mr. Pearce’s father was born in Morpeth, Ontario in 1888 and moved to Manitoba in 1908. After his marriage to his wife, the 1916 census captures Stanley and Alena Pearce in Battleford, Saskatchewan. Mr. and Mrs. Pearce moved their family to Rutland, Saskatchewan in 1925 where they farmed until 1938. In 1938, Stanley and Alena Pearce moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and they remained their until their deaths. Their son Richard Pearce obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
After leaving Saskatchewan, Dr. Lois Pearce practiced medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia, before moving to Toronto, where she worked at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.
Dr. and Mr. Pearce moved to Chatham in 1951 when Mr. Pearce, accepted a position as Assistant Hospital Administrator at the Public General Hospital. (Mr. Pearce served as the Administrator at the Public General Hospital from 1957-1983). Dr. Lois Pearce set up a general family practice in Chatham. According to the 1956 and the1959 Vernon’s City Directory, Dr. Pearce had an office located at 141 Grand Ave. East.
After the arrival her children, Dr. Pearce gave up her own medical practice and assisted other doctors and did locums. Later in her career, she joined the staff at the Southwest Regional Centre in Cedar Springs and served for a time as Chief of Staff. She remained at the Centre until her full retirement in 1989.
Dr. Pearce served on the Chatham Board of Education and she was also involved in a number of other groups, including: the Zonta Club, the Flora Campbell Auxiliary, the Junior Hospital League, University Woman’s Clubs and theatre groups. In her spare time, Dr. Pearce enjoyed quilting. She traveled extensively, and went on ‘walking holidays,’ which included walking through trails in the Swiss Alps, England and China. In her 70th year, Dr. Pearce and her husband walked across Canada in eight and a half months while raising awareness for the Rotary Polio Program.
Dr. and Mr. Pearce had four children: Leslie, Craig, Margaret and Ralph, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandsons.
Mr. Pearce died in 1997. He was buried at Trinity Cemetery in Morpeth, Ontario
Dr. Lois Pearce died at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on the 8th of July, 2014. She was buried next to her husband at Trinity Cemetery in Morpeth.
*Dr. Pearce’s husband Richard Pearce appears on the ‘Gathering Our Heroes’ website.