1/24/1935 – 1/3/2020
Priscilla Jean Pearce Whittaker went to Heaven on Jan. 3, 2020. Priscilla and her twin brother, Laird, were born in San Francisco on Jan. 24, 1935.
Priscilla graduated from Chula Vista High School in 1952. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from San Diego State University in 1956, then taught elementary school in Seattle, Santa Barbara and at Aliso Elementary School in Carpinteria.
While teaching in Santa Barbara, Priscilla met and married Galen Pearce on July 27, 1958, at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara. They settled in a Don Bensen-designed home built on Foothill Road in Carpinteria. In 1966, Priscilla and Galen and their young children moved to Portales, New Mexico, then Lubbock, Texas, while Galen pursued a PhD in Education. The family moved to Reno, Nevada, in 1969 where Galen became a professor at University of Nevada.
Galen’s life was taken in December 1969 in a car accident near Reno that also left Priscilla in critical condition. After Priscilla recovered, she and her three children returned to Carpinteria in 1970 and received amazing support from Carpinteria Community Church and the Carpinteria community as she raised her three children as a single mother.
During that period, Priscilla was Curator of Education at the Santa Barbara Historical Society Museum, cooked for the Audubon High Sierra Camp in the summers, and worked for Carpinteria Unified School District as a teacher/tutor for homebound students. After earning a master’s degree in Education at UC Santa Barbara in 1984, Priscilla began a 10-year career as Independent Learning Skills Coordinator at Braille Institute.
Priscilla married widower Roy Whittaker on Sept. 12, 1992 and enjoyed 19 years of a blessed marriage filled with many happy family memories and frequent travels. Priscilla loved nature and the outdoors. She also enjoyed river rafting, hiking in the Santa Barbara County backcountry with close friends and camping. Priscilla loved Carpinteria and always treasured the close friends she had in the community. She loved teaching in Carpinteria as a newlywed, raising her children in Carpinteria, and her volunteer work in her later years.
Priscilla served in a number of volunteer roles including with Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s Visitor Center, Carpinteria Host Program, Friends of the Carpinteria Library Bookstore, Carpinteria Valley Historical Museum and Carpinteria Arts Center. Priscilla also served in a variety of roles at Carpinteria Community Church, most recently as a Deacon. She also loved baking, gardening and walking along the Carpinteria Bluffs.
Following a fall early in 2019, Priscilla moved to a skilled nursing unit at Atherton Baptist Homes in Alhambra, California, where she enjoyed eight months of joy-filled days and regular visits from family members before peacefully passing away in her sleep. Priscilla’s strong faith in God, her optimism and hope and her kind and loving demeanor characterized her entire life. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends and all who knew her.
Priscilla is survived by her daughter Janet Klimowich (Andrew), sons Colin Pearce (Susan) and Andy Pearce (Sandy), stepson Brian Whittaker (Pearl), stepdaughter Christine Beadle, stepdaughter-in-law Anne Whittaker, grandchildren Elisabeth Klimowich, Hope Klimowich, Sean Larson, Jackson Pearce, Odessa Pearce, Kiry Pearce Chan, Kathryn Pearce, Sarah Pearce, Lesley Pearce, and Hudson Pearce, step-grandchildren, Megan Saunders (Callum), Conor Whittaker, Caitlyn Damron (Jackson), Kelsey Whittaker, April Spinale (Chris), and step-great-grandchildren Carter Spinale, Sydney Spinale and Nora Damron. She is preceded in death by her twin brother Laird Gale, husbands Galen Pearce and Roy Whittaker, stepson Tom Whittaker, and step-grandson Jimmy Boody.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a gift in Priscilla’s memory are encouraged to give to Carpinteria Community Church, Carpinteria Valley Museum of History or Friends of the Carpinteria Library.
A Celebration of Life service to honor and remember Priscilla will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at Carpinteria Community Church, with a reception to follow in the church Fellowship Hall.