Barbara Laura Pearson – “Nanny,” as she was affectionately known — lost a hard-fought battle with cancer and passed away peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones on December 29, 2019.

Barbara was born in Orleans on October 23, 1930 to Henry and Lottie Beck and was the fourth of six children. A life-long member of the Karuk Tribe, Barbara grew up and attended school in Orleans and graduated from Hoopa High School in 1950. Shortly thereafter she met Eric “Bill” Pearson Jr. Little did they know their love would be one for the ages, a friendship and partnership to last a lifetime — the BP’s. Bill and Barbara were married in 1951 and built a house in Weitchpec to start a family and take over the family business as the merchants of Pearson’s Grocery. Through their proprietorship of the store they grew to be pillars of the community - building relationships of love and respect built on generosity and friendship. They worked side by side there for many years, happily building the business and raising their three children. Though she became a mother, Barbara didn’t take a break from the business as slowing down wasn’t in her nature. Rarely idle, she possessed a great vitality and strength and was always willing to do whatever was necessary to make life work, whether it be family, house repairs or store business. The quintessential matriarch, she taught us the value of hard work and dedication, loyalty and family, joy and love, devotion and sacrifice.

A wonderful baker, gardener, chef and entertainer – she and Bill were gracious hosts to many lively get-togethers and feasts at the house on the hill in Weitchpec, her amazing qualities and talents she lavished onto her family as nothing was more important to her and there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them, she loved and cared for them with everything she had and remained steadfast in her devotion to her last breath. One of her favorite things to do for them was making all of the holidays and birthdays special and festive – not a holiday or special event went by that she wasn’t cooking, decorating or bringing the family together to celebrate.

Never far from each other’s side, Bill shared Barbara’s love of family and home. For 64 glorious years of marriage they remained devoted to each other and were happiest together providing and caring for their loved ones and friends, gardening and growing food and flowers, and caretaking the store. In their golden years they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor traveling to Hawaii, Tennessee, New Orleans and Reno and taking the RV to the races at Nascar. When Bill passed away in 2015, a piece of Barbara went with him. We take comfort knowing they are together again, whole once more. An undeniably strong woman with a big heart, Nanny was a one-of-a-kind, full of sugar and spice dynamo. She leaves behind a beautiful legacy of strength, determination, love and the importance of family.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Lottie Beck, husband Eric “Bill” Pearson Jr., son Eric “Winks” Pearson III, brothers Oren, Walt and Henry Beck and nephew Henry “Doomie” Beck. She is survived by her brother Ranold Beck, sister Elsie Gillespie, daughter Karen “Chick” Pearson, son Ranold “Ted” Pearson Sr. (Maggie) and daughter-in-law Joyce Pearson, Grandchildren: Tonya and Laura Pearson and Casey O’Neill (Delbert Sr.), Heather Campbell (Bob Jr.), and Ranold Pearson Jr. Great Grand Children: Sonia Franzi, Erica, Lee and Alex Ammon, Cory, Delbert Jr., Devlin, and Dewayne O’Neill, Bobby, Tristin, Lane and Scarlett Campbell, and Leroy Person. Great-Great Grandchildren: Aeriana Cosce, Ida, Maizy and Hazel Myers, Angel and Jackson Gabriel, and Macario Ammon, beloved family Barbara and Michael Beck, Kristen King and Valerie Tuey, and special friends: Delores Blanc, Barbara Ferris, Nancy and Paul Ayers, and Terri Jones.

Per Barbara’s wishes there will be no services at this time. A celebration of life will follow at a later date.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Barbara Pearson’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.