1871 - 1971
Theed Pearse was born in Bedford, England on October 26, 1871, to Mary (nee Jackson) and William Theed Pearse. He attended the prestigious Bedford Grammar School and before he was seventeen he was articled to his father who was practicing law at Bedford at that time. He remained in the law business until 1906 when he sold out and joined a venture in Virginia, U.S.A., which "turned out to be a fizzle."
After this unhappy experience he joined his brother Ernest and was engaged in fruit farming in Nova Scotia, but after one season they both decided to move to British Columbia where they arrived in 1909. His brother moved on but Theed was so taken with the Pacific coast that he remained in Vancouver. Although he had hoped to find a law practice in Courtenay, which at the time had only about seven hundred people, there was only just enough work for one lawyer. After the war ended the Courtenay lawyer left and Pearse move over in 1916 and opened a law office. In 1919 he married Elizabeth Margaret (Elma) Llewelyn, the daughter of Sir Robert Llewelyn, the Governor of Granada in the West Indies.
After settling in the valley, Pearse served as an alderman for thirteen years and as Mayor for 1928 and 1929, then in 1941 Pearse retired and devoted the rest of his long life to his all-absorbing hobby, bird study. In 1968, at the age of ninety-six, he self published a work entitled Birds of the Early Explorers in the Northern Pacific which was considered "a fine scholarly work worthy of a man who meticulously took notes on the bird life of the area." His ornithological affiliations included life-membership in the British Ornithologists' Union, honorary memberships in both the Pacific Northwest Bird and Mammal Society and the Cooper Ornithological Society, and a long time member of the American Ornithologists' Union. Pearse also was the representative of Courtenay's St. John's Anglican Church at the General Synod and he was on the executive. Prior to and during World War II, he represented the executive council of the B.C. Red Cross Society and as Chairman of the local Red Cross.
Theed Pearse died on May 23, 1971 at the age of ninety-nine just five months short of his one hundredth birthday. His wife Elma passed away in 1969.
Hagen, Judy. "The Gentleman Barrister-Birder." Comox Valley Echo. [Courtenay, B.C.] (January 20, 1998) p. B4.
Hagen, Judy. "The Early
Trumpeter Explorers." Comox Valley Echo. [Courtenay, B.C.]
(January 27, 1998) p. B4.