Denice Annette (Sparks) Pearson, a genuine and determined woman who was an ardent supporter of her family and staunch advocate for Americans with Disabilities, died Thursday, March 1, 2018. She was 63 years old.
She died after a fierce battle with cancer.
Denice Annette (Sparks) Pearson was born in Morenci, Mich., on April 23, 1954. As a teen she was active in basketball, Girls Athletic Association, cheerleading, gun club, and more. Denice graduated from Evergreen High School in Metamora, Ohio, in 1972. After graduation, she met Kenneth (Ken) Dierkens whom she married July 19, 1975. The couple first lived in Delta, Ohio, where Denice worked for Frito Lay as an administrative assistant. After the couple moved to Morenci, Denice worked for the Morenci Observer (now the State Line Observer) as the business manager.
Denice and Ken Dierkens were a welcoming, social couple with many friends and a mutt named Buzz. The couple was especially active with the Morenci Bible Fellowship, where they led youth groups and helped young men and women find their paths in life.
Denice gave birth to their first child, Erica Dierkens, in 1977, and Sarah Dierkens, their second child, in 1979. After her children entered school, Denice became an active member of the Morenci Area Schools Board of Education and often participated in school fund-raisers and sporting events, such as softball and track, where she was known to bring a packed cooler of food that she enthusiastically shared with others. As a family, the Dierkens loved to rent summer homes on the west side of Michigan, especially in Paw Paw, where they canoed, kayaked and fished. They also spent many enjoyable summer vacations in Grayling with their friends Jim and Deb Yatzek and their children. The couple was happily wed until the time of Ken’s unexpected death in 1998.
In 2000 Denice met Lars Eugene Pearson, originally from California, who became her second husband in 2005. Together they traveled, attended countless jazz and blues concerts and visited friends. They also had a vacation home in Irons, Mich., where they relaxed, fished, searched for edible mushrooms and enjoyed time spent with Denice’s daughters, sons-in-law and countless hours playing with their grandchildren, fulfilling Denice’s dreams of having a place to create “up north” memories.
Denice owned her own business, Identity Impressions, a company that supplied branded items for all forms of business, especially casinos and resorts, from 2008 until 2018.
Denice was a dedicated grandmother to her eight grandchildren whom she frequently babysat and was beside her daughters for most of the births. She also attended her grandchildren’s sporting events, from swim meets and archery, to school band performances and other school events.
Denice is survived by her second husband, Lars Eugene Pearson, 57; her eldest daughter, Erica (Dierkens) McLeod, 40; son-in-law Patrick E. McLeod, 48; and their four children, Isabella, 11; Kendra, 9; Maysie, 7; and Edmund, 3. She also is survived by her daughter Sarah (Dierkens) Jacobs, 38; son-in-law, Tim Jacobs; and their children, Alysha, 18; Jaclyn, 13; Cheyenne, 5; and Baylee, 4. She is survived by her mother, Ella Mae (Hildreth) Sparks, 98. She is preceded in death by her father, Isaac Sparks, who died in 1999. She is survived by her brother Sherman Sparks and his wife, Rita Sparks, and brothers-in-law Wallace Johnson and Oscar Pearson and his wife, Myra.
She was preceded in death by her siblings Douglas Sparks and Loretta (Sparks) Johnson.
Denice Pearson’s funeral will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10, with visitation begining at 11 a.m., at Charles R. Step Funeral Home, 18425 Beech Daly Road, Redford, Mich. Funeral home visitation hours are also scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 9. A memorial luncheon is planned at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at the Morenci Bible Fellowship downtown location, 244 W. Main St., Morenci, MI 49256.
. The time will be announced soon.