Onley Mayor Jack Pierson: ‘Loved’ Politics


By Connie Morrison-  Some mayors seek out legacy projects by which to be remembered, but Onley Mayor Jack Pierson, who died Sept. 10, made his legacy with consistent acts of kindness and caring for his employees and constituents.

“He was always working things out; he was very compassionate,” said Onley Town Manager Jamye Salazar. “He wanted to help people. He was a great man and a great boss.”

“He was one of the most unselfserving people I’ve ever met in government,” said former zoning administrator John Pavlik. “He was dedicated to the employees and people.”

Pavlik described him as an idea man who “wanted to keep the charm of the Eastern Shore in Onley.”

Politics was in his blood, said his wife, Rose Pierson. “He loved it. He’s a New Yorker. Politics is his business,” she said. “To make decisions for the business of the town: that was important to him.” He presided over the town when the fire company was being disbanded. “He stayed on top of it,” said Salazar, meeting with county administrator Mike Mason and others. “He was against it in the beginning,” she said, “but eventually we realized maybe it was for the best.”

“He was in there every day,” said Pavlik until New Year’s Eve when he suffered a heart attack. During the long illness that followed he kept working via telephone, Pavlik said.

He is survived by his wife, Rose, a son, and two daughters, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

At Wednesday’s town council meeting, Dawn Dize was appointed interim mayor.

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