James Mack Pearson was born September 17, 1941, and passed away on Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, after a long and courageous battle with various health issues. As usual, he fought long and hard but decided he didn’t want to fight anymore and was ready to go.
Mack was born in Dodge City, Kansas, to James Cecil and Fannie (Waggoner) Pearson on September 17, 1941. Mack did have a sister, Mary, but she only lived a week or so before passing. The family lived in various places in Kansas until settling down in Mountain View, Missouri.
He grew up in and around Mountain View, graduating from Mountain View High School in 1959. Mack had started dating Francis Pounders while in high school, which continued while Mack attended Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. Mack graduated from SMSU in 1963 with a degree in business administration.
Mack and Francis were married on June 15, 1963, in Mountain View. The story goes that during the wedding ceremony power was lost and the proceedings were finished by candlelight. To this marriage, two sons were born, James Michael and Travis Allen.
He had a close relationship with his first cousins, who both grew up in Willow Springs, Missouri, Steve and John Allen Foster. Mack, Steve, and John Allen spent a lot of time together growing up and over the years.
Upon Mack graduating from SMSU, he began his 42-year career working for V. Smith Lumber Company, which later became Smith Flooring, Inc. Mack began working in West Plains for V. Smith Lumber Company, later moving to the Mountain View location for a few years. Smith’s bought a treating plant in Cabool, Missouri, that Mack managed for many years before eventually moving back to Mountain View and becoming general manager for Smith Flooring until his retirement in May 2005.
During his career at Smith Flooring, he was able to travel for work to many different companies that they sold flooring to or purchased equipment from. Mack attended many trade shows in the flooring and sawmill industry over the years and had many relationships with people from those various industries and trades.
After Mack’s retirement, Francis retired so she could keep an eye on him. Both were huge NASCAR fans and traveled with their camper trailer to various races with friends and family. The fall Talladega race became an annual favorite with Mack and Francis, her brothers Johnnie and Raymond, sister Barbara Gail, and friends. They would usually make a week of the race.
He enjoyed woodworking for many years with Francis by his side. She made recommendations, while he made the various items. Many tables, cabinets, cutting boards, shelves, benches, and other items were made over the years. Mack was very proud that his grandson, Drew, was continuing the family tradition by woodworking in his backyard as well.
Mack and Francis were as proud as any grandparents could be of their three very special grandchildren, Drew, Allison, and Macy. Many, many miles, days and nights were spent chasing Drew around playing various sports, especially baseball. Mack had the pleasure to watch Allison and Macy play volleyball as they grew older.
When Drew’s baseball travels took him further from home, Mack was able to follow the teams on the internet which he really enjoyed as well.
Mack had one big fault that he passed on to his sons and grandson — his love for Mizzou football. Several times each year everyone would gather at Mike’s or Travis’s house or at theirs and watch Mizzou. He went to Columbia, Missouri, on several occasions with Mike and Travis when they were younger, and later at least once with Drew and Mike. Mack penned several poems/rantings lamenting the various failures of Mizzou’s many coaches over the years. He did get to enjoy several years when Mizzou became a power in the Big 12 before leaving and joining the Southeastern Conference. Many New Year’s Day parties were held in Cabool watching various bowl games (usually not Mizzou) with family and friends. Mack would get several TVs and set them up in the living room so that everyone could watch three games at one time!
Mack lost Francis in 2009 but continued on without her. He continued to attend ball games of some kind watching Drew, Allison, and Macy. Plus, Mack and Drew could and did talk for hours and hours about games he played in or games they watched.
He was generous with sponsoring teams Drew played on by giving money to the Springfield Pride, West Plains Merchants, Cabool Baseball, Midwest Nationals, Crowder College Baseball, and Missouri Southern State University.
Mack loved “The Place,” as it was lovingly called by Mack’s dad Cecil. He and Francis bought “The Place” from Cecil and Fannie and they built their home on those wonderful 40 acres. The house construction began by removing an old farmhouse that was still on the property, during which Mack lost part of a finger on his right hand and spent a few nights in the hospital trying to save it to no avail. His curveball was never the same after that, and Mike and Travis took advantage of it.
The house was built on weekends, vacation time, weeknights, and any time the Pearson family had time to work on it. There are very few friends and family in the area that did not assist in the building of the house. Mack and Francis had many friends in Cabool that would lend a Saturday to help. Larry and Ruthann Smotherman were a constant in helping, as were David, Dale, Joseph, Penny, Mike, and Travis, as they were always hammering nails somewhere. Mack was always the boss giving all the instructions on exactly what to do. This was where for the longest time that Mike thought his first name was “Dammit Son” because he heard it a lot in the mistakes he made while helping.
Mack’s oldest nephew, David, somehow earned the name Everett during one summer and Mack became Uncle Maxine.
Mack and Jeanne Taber became very good friends (if not girlfriend and boyfriend) for over seven of Mack’s last years. Mack’s grandson Drew lamented on more than one occasion that he didn’t understand why his Pawpaw had a girlfriend and he couldn’t find one.
Mack was preceded in death by a sister, Mary; his parents, James Cecil in 1986 and Fannie in 2007; and his wife, Francis in 2009.
Mack leaves his two sons, James Michael and wife Becky of Cabool and Travis Allen and wife Suzanne of Willow Springs; three very special grandchildren, Drew and fiancé Rebecca Woods of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and Allison and Macy of Willow Springs; one very special friend, Jeanne Taber of Mountain View; two brothers-in-law, Johnnie Pounders and Raymond Pounders of Alabama; two sisters-in-law, Barbara Gail Wilcox and husband Tommy of Alabama and Ruthann Smotherman and husband Larry of Mountain View; a very special niece, Penny Sansouci of Mountain View; three special nephews, David, Dale, and Joseph Smotherman; two cousins, Steve Foster of Willow Springs and John Allen Foster of Kansas City, Missouri; and many other nieces, nephews, cousins, and special friends.
A memorial visitation was held Thursday, June 24, 2021, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Yarber Mortuary, Willow Springs. Inurnment will be in Greenlawn Cemetery in Mountain View at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in memory of Mack. Condolences may be expressed at www.yarbermortuary.com.