Lewis Blanford ‘Blan’ Pierce, Jr.

Posted 3/21/24

Lewis Blanford “Blan” Pierce, Jr., 85, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, Illinois. 

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Lewis Blanford ‘Blan’ Pierce, Jr.


CRESTON — Lewis Blanford “Blan” Pierce, Jr., 85, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, Illinois.  Blan was born on June 8, 1938 to Lewis B. and Lucy (Norris) Pierce in DeKalb, IL.

Blan was the fourth generation of Woodlawn Farms L.B. Pierce and Sons.  Friends in the Angus cattle business across multiple states and generations stayed in touch for “cow talk” and/or advice.  He never met a stranger and he loved visiting with people. Blan continued the Angus cattle business at Woodlawn until its dispersal in May of 2005.  He then established the Woodlawn Scholarship Endowment Fund at the American Angus Foundation, the first one so gifted from an Angus breeder, and it has grown through the years granting annual scholarships to youth in the industry.

The historic “Woodlawn Trophy”, a large three handled silver trophy, had been won by Blan’s great grandfather, B.R. Pierce, and grandfather, S.R. Pierce, in 1900 at the First International Livestock Show held in Chicago, IL. The family proudly displayed the trophy at all of their cattle sales.  When Blan was inducted into the Angus Heritage Hall of Fame at the annual Angus meeting in Louisville, KY, following in his earlier three ancestors footsteps, he surprised all in attendance by gifting the trophy to the Angus Association, where it is on display at their headquarters.

A second breed caught Blan’s eye about 18 years ago when he and Joan began to acquire Shorthorn cattle from his partner, Steve French’s herd in Michigan.  It was coming full circle as Blan’s great grandfather had Shorthorns for ten years before he began a 136 year love of Angus.

Blan was very civic minded and was involved in many organizations throughout his life time.  He was on the Rochelle Community Hospital Board, Creston School Board, Ogle County Extension Board and was a 4-H leader.  He was a multi Township Tax Assessor, a member of the American Angus “Vision of Value” Foundation Committee and an active contributor to the foundation as were his three ancestors.  Blan was a member of the American Angus Association and in 2007 was nominated and installed in the American Angus Heritage Foundation. In addition, he was a Northern Illinois Angus Association board member. 

A second marriage for Blan and his wife, Joan, almost reached the 47 year anniversary this June; add to that the four years they dated.  

Blan was the proud father to sons: Carl (Kris) of Reedsburg, WI and Jake (Edie) of Byron, IL; grandfather to Carl’s daughter, Carly (Nate) Vogeler and great grandfather to Henry, Theo and Ben Vogeler and grandfather to Jake and Edie’s son, Wyatt.  He was additionally a proud step father to Joan’s children: Tim (Suzi) Pleune of Batavia, IL, Beth (Jeff) Martin of Bonita Springs, FL and Laura (Mike Loptien) Sykes of Sycamore, IL; step grandfather to Jamie Pleune, Alyssa Pleune (Zach) Clark, Andy (Julie) Martin, Joe (Sarinna) Martin; great granddaughter, Lilah Martin and soon to be great grandson Martin in April; Samantha Sykes and Jarrett Sykes.

In addition to his parents, L.B. and Lucy Pierce, Blan was preceded in death by his brother, Norris Pierce; sister, Susan Lesh; nephew, David Pierce and sister-in-law, Ann Pierce.

There will be a private family memorial graveside service at Woodlawn Cemetery, Creston, IL. At a later date, the family will have a celebration of Blan’s life.  Memorials may be made in his memory to the American Angus Foundation for the Woodlawn Farms Scholarship Endowment Fund.  Visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.