Amesbury, MA – Henry Carter Pierce, II, of Amesbury, died at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers on January 28, 2024, with his wife and family by his side after a very long (almost 18 years) and courageous battle with cancer and the effects of the treatment. He was 71 years old. Henry leaves his loving wife of 37 years, Maura Lyons and fur-baby Kramer. He also leaves his son Christopher Joy Pierce of Wakefield. He was the dear brother of Judy Rogan of Mt Vernon, NY, Albert Jr. and wife Vicki of Burlington, Ruby of Cambridge, David and wife Joan of Waltham, George and wife Donna of Amesbury, and Robert of Kingston, NH, as well as sisters-in-law Paula of Haverhill, Kim of Malden, Rhonda of South Carolina and Sheila of Illinois. He was predeceased by his parents Albert F. Pierce Sr. and Clara E. (Jenkins) of Cambridge and Hyannis, his sister Marie of North Conway, NH, and brothers William “Tommy” of Lynn and Frazier Rogan of Germany, as well as brother-in-law Jim of Cambridge, sister-in-law Diane of Medford and niece Nina of Greenbelt, MD. Henry also leaves his close nephew Nick and wife Elene of Haverhill. Although he couldn’t see them as often as he would have liked, he loved and missed all his nieces and nephews (Keith, Nancy, David, Ashley, Dana, Leah, Lauren, Eric, Natalie, Justin, Ben, Noelle, Isaac, Hannah, Elijah and Courtney) and their spouses and children.
Henry grew up in North Cambridge surrounded by his siblings and many long-time childhood friends. He cherished those memories and often shared great stories of their many exploits! He attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin, also enjoying sports including football, basketball and tennis. As an adult, he lived in various places mostly in northeastern Mass with a couple of years in western Maine and a couple of years in southwestern Connecticut. But Amesbury was his home for the past 20+ years and he loved it, along with Solon, Maine where he has enjoyed his cabin in the woods for 25+ years.
Henry spent his professional career taking care of people. Early on he worked in nursing homes and hospitals and then became a very talented and caring Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) first for Professional Ambulance in Cambridge where he met his wife Maura and then for 25 years at Cataldo/Atlantic Ambulance at many of their locations. He also spent a couple of years at MedCare Ambulance in Mexico, ME. He truly enjoyed helping people and excelled at it with compassion and kindness. He accumulated many commendations and letters of thanks and appreciation from his patients. One letter in fact was from a young woman he helped, who he inspired to become an EMT herself. She eventually became one of his coworkers and friends! He especially had a soft spot for seniors, and they loved him. He did a fabulous job making everyone feel comfortable as he cared for them.
Henry and Maura were together for almost 40 years, and they often joked “and we haven’t killed each other yet”!! Like most people, there were ups and downs and many external challenges, but those challenges brought them closer together as they tackled what life brought them, together. That included Henry’s health issues over the past 18 years. They truly were partners and shared the same values. Most important to them was enjoying life and having “experiences.” They loved to be out and about and did it as often as possible. In their early years, they could be found camping throughout New England, almost every weekend. They also loved just going for rides along the ocean or through the mountains. They had great trips taking the train from Boston to Albuquerque many years ago and exploring the Southwest. They loved the West Coast, Montana and the Pacific Northwest. One of their favorites was Vancouver, British Columbia and they had hoped they would see Orcas while they were there (Henry’s dream) but that didn’t come to be. Probably the trip with the most and best stories was when they rented an RV and traveled to Lake Tahoe and back with only two weeks of preparation! And the dog and cat traveled with them! In addition to travel, they loved good food, spending time and doing projects at their cabin in the woods and spending time with family and friends here and in Maine. In more recent years as Henry’s health declined, they enjoyed just being together, going for rides, eating a meal, or watching tv.
Henry loved all animals, especially his many dogs and cats over the years. Each one was special to him, and he developed a strong bond with them especially his golden retriever Sam when he was younger and his black lab Tyler. He loved training and exercising them. He would almost always have his dog with him wherever he went and over the years of his health battles they were a huge part of his support system!
He also enjoyed seeing wildlife and loved exploring and watching local animals whenever he traveled. He was an amateur birdwatcher and could spend hours watching them from the front porch of his cabin in Maine. Probably his absolute favorite were hummingbirds, and he would have multiple feeders (often 6 – 10) positioned across the yard allowing him to watch all the individuals and their different behaviors. He could identify many, had names for many, and knew which were repeat visitors from previous years.
Henry was introduced accidentally to fly fishing over 30 years ago and he was hooked! He would often be found reading or watching videos to learn about great fishing spots, different fishing techniques and different species of fish. He could also be found practicing his casting in a field, maintaining his equipment, and ultimately out on the river! That was his happy place! Henry would travel great distances to fish various streams and rivers and even if he didn’t catch anything, he was happy and truly at peace! His fishing was almost always catch and release as fishery conservation and management were extremely important to him. Some of his best trips were fishing out west in Montana with his fishing buddies Mike and Evan. There were many great stories and memories from those trips. He also enjoyed fishing locally at Malden Anglers club where he was a member for many years, and he enjoyed the company and friendship of the other members there.
Henry loved and truly enjoyed good food. And he loved sharing it with family and friends. He loved to cook and to eat. Whether it was grilling a meal on a campfire or at the cabin, cooking a pork roast for a poker game, or making his Italian gravy, he enjoyed cooking and was very good at it! He also loved checking out local restaurants all over, especially “holes in the wall” and ethnic restaurants.
Henry was so fortunate to have such a large, loving and supportive network of family and friends, including our neighbors in Amesbury. Maura wishes to express her sincere and deep gratitude to all for the love and support that both Henry and she has received over the years. The friendship and compassion have been immeasurable, and she is humbled by it all.
We are also thankful to Cataldo/Atlantic Ambulance and Henry’s colleagues there for their support in the early years before Henry retired. Gratitude also to all the people at Appleseed’s/Orchard Brands and Lindenmeyr/J.S. Eliezer where Maura worked for many years during Henry’s health battles. The ongoing support and friendship of these organizations and their employees was invaluable as Maura supported Henry through these times.
Henry was extremely fortunate to be supported for 20+ years by the best PCP ever, Dr. Odiet, and his CM Eryne along with his entire team in Danvers. In addition, the Care Dimensions team of Dawn, Deb, Wendy and everyone at Kaplan Family Hospice House were incredibly kind and supportive as they took care of Henry (and Maura) in his final days. For that we are forever grateful. Lastly, the Dana Farber and Brigham doctors and teams that treated Henry over the years, especially all the nurses and support people both in-patient and out-patient were amazing. These are truly special people who always treated Henry with compassion, dignity and friendship.
Henry was a quiet guy, who was content and at peace alone in the woods, on a stream fishing, walking the dog, watching the birds, in the kitchen, or hanging with a friend. He wasn’t great at phone conversations and therefore struggled with long-distance relationships. Unfortunately, this resulted in even more isolation as a result of his health battles that left him immunocompromised. Then of course there was COVID, that necessitated even more isolation. Despite not being able to see his family and friends, he kept their love and friendship in his heart and when he did get to see people it was like there hadn’t been a gap. Things just picked right up where they left off.
Henry was very troubled and discouraged by the amount of hate in this world. He believed that everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual preference, disability, origin, etc. is entitled and deserves peace, kindness, love, safety, happiness and opportunity. To honor Henry, please carry this forward as this world is in desperate need of more tolerance, acceptance and love.
In accordance with Henry’s wishes, there will be no services. To honor Henry’s memory, follow his common themes – spend time with family and friends, eat well, spend time outdoors and love people unconditionally! If you would like to donate in his honor and memory, please consider The Home for Little Wanderers www.thehome.org or Mass Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals www.MSPCA.org