History | Egerton Ryerson | by Bruce M. Pearce

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.

Bruce played 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.

Bruce in 1924

Bruce in 1925

Bruce, mid-1960s

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