Cover photo for Lillian "Jeanette" Garris Pierce's Obituary
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1937 Lillian "Jeanette" 2023

Lillian "Jeanette" Garris Pierce

December 10, 1937 — September 8, 2023



Lillian “Jeanette” Garris Pierce, 85, was set free from her earthly bondages September 8, 2023.

She fought a long and hard battle of sickness, when God said “enough” and called her home.  Preceded in death were the love of her life, Hersey, married 67 years, her father, Paul “Petie Paul” J. Garris, mother, Martha S. Foster and brother, Paul “Jerry” J. Garris, Jr., united again in their forever, heavenly home.

 She leaves to cherish her memory, two daughters, Deborah “Debi” Jones (David) and Paula Hicks (Joe); three grandchildren, Rob Harris, Carey Harris and Christie Hicks; three great grandchildren, Mikayla, Alya and Emma; and two great grand puppies, whose frequent visits brightened her days.

Jeanette was born in Suffolk, VA and lived there until her family moved to Windsor, VA where she finished school and met and married the man of her dreams, Hersey Pierce. They started their family in Windsor, then soon after moved to Smithfield for Hersey to begin a 34 year career at Newport News Shipbuilding. Jeanette was a homemaker, raising her two girls until they left the nest. During those years at home, her love of music led her to teach guitar lessons for many years. One of her many exceptionally talented students went on to form a band in Smithfield, then traveled the U. S. and opened for Greg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band. After the girls left to start their own families, she began another adventure, landing a bookkeeping job at Southern Department Store in downtown Smithfield, which later became Peebles, where she stayed for 13 years, until Hersey retired. They then set out for the open road, traveling and exploring sites and landmarks on the East coast.

Jeanette was blessed with many gifts and talents. She was articulate and precise at whatever she set her hands to. Besides music, singing, playing the guitar and organ, she loved to draw and penciled renditions of family and pets that looked like photos.  She crafted many wood projects in Hersey’s woodshop. She was an extremely talented seamstress. She made several suits for Hersey, clothes for the girls and herself. She and another mother made denim typewriter covers for the IWA typing class. She loved to knit and crochet. She made dozens of sweaters for the girls, friends and herself over the years. She was working on completing an afghan when God called her home.

Jeanette was such a loving soul. She genuinely cared about people. If she could not physically help, she would spend hours praying for their health and needs. She will be missed by many, especially her daughters. She was the glue that held it all together and a wealth of knowledge in so many areas of life.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Diabetes Foundation or the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Visitation with family will be at Little’s Funeral Home from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, immediately followed by a Celebration of Life service.  Burial will be private, there will be no graveside service.

Online condolences may be registered at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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