Dilys Demorest Peirce, 95, died peacefully on February 26 at her home at Laurelmead in Providence, RI from complications related to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Born on October 5, 1919 in Rye, New York, she was the daughter of the late William Jennings Demorest and Wealthy Albro Lewis. The oldest of four children, she grew up in Rye, spent several years in Douglas, Arizona, and summered in Weekapaug, RI, where she met her husband Sam.
Mrs. Peirce attended Rye Country Day School and graduated from Westover School in 1937. She went on to study voice at Institute of Musical Art of the Julliard School. She continued her vocal study at Julliard’s Graduate School of Music where she was awarded a fellowship. She taught music and conducted at McNeese College of Louisiana State University in Lake Charles.
In 1946 she married Samuel Freeman Peirce and moved to Darien, CT. During the early years of their marriage, they lived in Springfield, MA and Hamden, CT, before moving back to Darien where they lived for 45 years.
An active musician and singer all of her life, she was a soloist in the St. Luke’s Choir and member of the Greenwich Chorale, performed with Pro Arte of Connecticut, and taught voice to local singers. She was an active member of the Schubert Club of Fairfield County and gave many local recitals.
Her husband Sam was an avid sailor, and she spent many weekends and summers sailing with him on one of their cruising boats or with friends from Noroton Yacht Club.
She began a new chapter of her life after Sam’s death in 2002 when she moved to Providence to be near her daughter Anne Landis and her two grandchildren. She was an active resident at Laurelmead until the time of her death. In this last year she especially enjoyed visits from her great grandson Joseph Landis McGinn.
Mrs. Peirce was grateful for the care and assistance she received from Home and Hospice of RI, the ALS Association (Rhode Island Chapter), and her many devoted home health aides. All made it possible for her to remain in her home at Laurelmead.
She is survived by daughter Anne Landis (Bruce Landis) of Providence; daughter Pamela Peirce (Ann Carey) of San Francisco; granddaughter Elizabeth Landis (Dan McGinn) of Worcester, MA and grandson Robert Landis of Providence, RI; sister Anne Hurtt of Ann Arbor, MI; and sister Carolyn Demorest of Dublin, NH; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 7th at 2pm at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 50 Orchard Avenue, Providence, RI 02906, with a reception following at Laurelmead, 355 Blackstone Blvd, Providence, RI 02906.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Laurelmead Employee Education Fund (LEEF), 355 Blackstone Blvd, Providence, RI 02906 or a favorite charitable organization.