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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Theed Pearse

Theed Pearse was born in Bedford, England on October 26, 1871, to Mary Jackson and William Theed Pearse. Growing up he attended the prestigious Bedford Grammar School and started working with his father before the age of seventeen in his law office. He remained in the law business until 1906 when left to join a venture in Virginia, which did not work out.

He then traveled to Canada to join his brother Ernest who was working on fruit farming in Nova Scotia, but after just one season they both decided to move to British Columbia where they arrived in 1909. His brother later left the area but Theed was so taken with the Pacific coast that he remained in Vancouver. Although Pearse had wanted to practice law, there was only enough work in the small city of 600 people for one lawyer who was already established in Courtenay. But after the war, the Courtenay lawyer left, and Pearse moved into the position in 1916. 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 favorite 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. Pearse was a 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. 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.

Mt. Elma in Courtenay, B.C. is named for the wife of Theed Pearse

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