For half a century, the byline
"by Bruce M. Pearce" (or just B.M.P.) was as good
as writing and editing got locally. Simcoe Reformer editor and publisher Bruce Pearce
also wrote several books over
the years, the most popular being Historical Highlights of Norfolk County,
from which our Egerton Ryerson profile was transcribed.
Bruce Murdoch Pearce was born 4
Dec 1900 in Waterford, Ontario, the elder son of P. George Pearce and
his wife Fanny Murdoch.
Bruce was a third generation
newspaper man. His grandfather, Percy John Pearce purchased The
Waterford Express in 1874. Bruce's father, P. George Pearce, assumed control of The Waterford Star
in 1897, then amalgamated the Star with The
Simcoe Reformer when he bought Simcoe's leading newspaper from Hal
B. Donly, in 1922.
A graduate of Hamilton,
Ontario's McMaster University and Toronto's Osgoode Hall Law School,
Bruce was editor of the Reformer and Secretary of Simcoe's Pearce
Publishing Company Limited by 1924. He married Ellen Elizabeth Spearing in 1926 in
Brantford, Ontario. They had a son, Richard, and three daughters, Sally, Judith, and Nancy.
Bruce edited of the Reformer for over 40
years. He grew the paper from weekly, twice-weekly, then tri-weekly
publication. All that time he was well-known as an avid sportsman and
dedicated amateur historian.
baseball in his youth, then managed, sponsored and boosted many baseball
and hockey teams, 1930-76. He was inducted to the Norfolk County
Sports Hall of Recognition in 1996.
As editor and publisher of
Simcoe's leading newspaper, Bruce knew success depended upon readers
believing his words. Perhaps that is why his history articles were so
painstakingly researched. Although hampered by the relatively weak
research tools of his era, Bruce's work for the most part still stands
the test of time.
Active in the
Masonic Order, Bruce served as Master of Norfolk Lodge No. 10 Simcoe,
and District Deputy of Wilson District A. F. and A. M. Early in his
career Bruce wrote and published a book on the life of William Mercer Wilson, one of the most distinguished figures in the
annals of Norfolk
County and for 10 years the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge of Canada A. F. and A. M.
A director of
Norfolk General Hospital for 30 years, Bruce served several terms as its
secretary and vice chairman. He was secretary-treasurer of the Simcoe Business Men's Association, secretary of Simcoe's Museum
Commission from 1941 to 1967, and president of the Norfolk Historical
Society, 1965 to 1967.
Bruce retired from
active newspaper life in 1968, turning it over to his son Dick
when the Reformer went daily. He continued to write articles
about the local scene into the 1970s, completing a half century of
service to the newspaper and its community.
One of Norfolk
County's most prominent men of his day, Bruce was a widely respected
gentleman. He enjoyed good health into his 84th year, until
sustaining fatal head injuries in a fall at Norfolk General Hospital 10
Aug 1984. He was buried in Waterford's Greenwood Cemetery.