Meet Our Members -- Nancy Pierson Bill
I was born and raised where the new Indianapolis Airport (and old Weir Cook Airport was) on land that my great grandparents homesteaded. Jim and Ruth Ladd Pierson were my parents and I and my siblings (JoAnn, Johnnie, Charles (Laddie), and Jimmie) lived on the farm with my Great-Uncle Roscoe. Some of our ancestors were buried in a small cemetery that is located close to the FedEx building at the airport.
I have many fond memories of growing up on the farm. We had dairy cows, big white work horses, hogs and chickens, and, of course, raised crops. I remember bartering eggs at the Valley Mills market. As a kid I drove the tractor after Dad put it in “grannie gear” while the men loaded the hay wagon. One year all the guys were showing livestock at the state fair and were running late getting home. So, Mother and I brought the twelve cows from the pasture across the road, down the driveway, through the barnyard and into the cow barn in the other pasture. I threw hay down from the mow into the troughs. Each cow knew its own stall and had its own name. Violet was my favorite.
I went to Decatur Central Elementary. My most embarrassing moment there was the day I forgot to take my kitchen apron off and wore it to school. I was in the first graduating class from Decatur Central High School’s “new” building in 1962. I remember carrying our books from the old school to the new building to place in our new lockers. Sometimes we’d get lost in this big building.
My family attended Center Friends Church. It was a meeting where we felt loved by all. Rosie Dillon and Cora Griffith were my Sunday school teachers. I remember one Sunday that my mother was not pleased that I brought comic books in from the car to read during church.
After high school I worked for Bridgeport Brass. I was only sixteen and had to get a work permit. There I met my first husband, Tom Ragan. We soon married and I became a mother to his two children, Bruce and Michele. Laura and Lisa quickly joined our family and my life centered around raising the kids. Later, in 1974, Chris was born. Bruce died in 1995 and Chris passed in 2017.
A stay-at-home mom, I was busy in lots of activities. I served as Girl Scout leader, a 4-H leader, on the PTA in Plainfield, taught Sunday school at Plainfield Friends, and various other such activities. As the kids got older, I worked on the Hendricks County Fair Board and was the youth group leader at Plainfield Friends, as well as serving on various committees there, including the old “Church Mouse Sale” which evolved into the current Quaker Day festivities.
After Brent and I married, we lived in New Castle and Muncie before returning to the Plainfield area in 2001. In New Castle, I worked as a program leader at Westminster Community Center, a settlement house serving the neediest of Henry County. I helped with the food pantry, clothing closest, and led activities for youth from elementary age to high school. I drove the bus for after-school program.
Returning to the Plainfield area, I spent a good deal of time caring for my father as he was dying and then my Aunt Pep as she passed. I also joined, and served as an officer, in a local P.E.O. chapter. P.E. O.is a women’s philanthropic organization that helps women continue their education.
Mostly I enjoy working in the various flower beds, woods, and prairie around our home and having family come and visit. Family is very important to me and I’m blessed to have so many of my family close by. For the past number of years, I’ve babysat great-grandchildren on a weekly basis.