Kent Roy Pierson - lifelong (at heart) resident of New Orleans, loving father of Seth Pierson & close friend and ex-spouse of Sharon Pierson, rapacious and sagacious collector of antiques, avid fisherman and snake catcher, pioneer of new ends at which to burn the candle, and likely multi-state record-setting speeding ticket earner - died on September 20, 2023, at the age of 75. Kent was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri to Harold Roy and Helen Virginia Pierson, and had a sister Lois Phelan (née Pierson). His birth family preceded him in death. Kent is survived by Seth Pierson, Sharon Pierson, brother-in-law Joe Phelan, nephew Dax Phelan, sister-in-law April Robinson, brothers-in-law Michael and Mark Robinson, as well as many other nieces/nephews and great-nieces/nephews.
Kent had the good sense to leave St. Louis as soon as he entered young adulthood. Once he got to New Orleans to attend LSUNO, it was all over. Kent loved this city so much. Here he fell in love, married, and rose quickly in his first professional career as an insurance adjuster. That work took Kent and Sharon to Texas, where they lived for a few years before returning here. After returning to New Orleans, Kent developed both a new professional career in the oil & gas industry and an amateur vocation in antique collecting that he remained committed to for the rest of his life. Kent and Sharon had one child, a son named Seth – and Kent was prouder of nothing in his life than his son. Kent and his family loved spending holidays like Halloween and Christmas together, dining at favorite restaurants and creating new family traditions over the years. Kent was successful in business and in life for many decades. He was a Mason, a Shriner and member of the Royal Order of Jesters and developed many lasting friendships in these groups.
As he aged, longstanding untreated health conditions surfaced and increasingly impacted his life and relationships. He lost his precious mother and sister and several lifelong friends in quick succession. He traveled a rocky path to alleviate depression and the pain of loss and refused the help of friends and treatment from the medical community. Toward the end of his life, however, when it became obvious he was no longer able to independently manage his addictions, he accepted intervention and the help offered by his family, many friends of Bill, and groups at River Oaks Hospital and others. Kent turned his life around and was sober for nearly 10 years, and tried to help others struggling with the same problems. Unfortunately, at some point Kent became overwhelmed by his life and ended up traveling down a very dark path where he literally became lost in his problems. Miraculously, he was rescued and was able to successfully navigate nearly four more years through the grace, love and care offered and freely given by so many people in so many ways.
Kent’s family wishes to extend their deepest thanks to all of the friends, medical and health professionals and vital staff members who made it possible for Kent to survive: Sharon was a guardian angel who moved mountains to advocate for and obtain assisted living and mental health care for Kent and was his steadfast friend to the end; Special thanks to Chateau de Notre Dame Assisted Living Center and Riverbend Nursing and Rehabilitation Center where Kent found more abundant gratitude, joy and community at than he had experienced in years, even while fighting a dire cancer diagnosis; Riverbend provided excellent care during the last year of Kent’s life – especially all his buddies on the “200 Pod.” (Thank you also for the “extra” Ensure – he loved it!) The family is also very grateful for the support and expert care provided by the staff of the Ochsner Health System, and The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center. A very special thank you to Compassus Hospice for their support, and the exceptional care given by Kent’s “Personal Nurse,” Gayle Polite.
Kent will be remembered by his family, friends and all the people, dogs, cats and horses he helped along the way. Please say a prayer, enjoy a laugh and share a meal in his memory! And please advocate and fight for the people in your life who need medical and especially mental health care. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.