Community mourns loss of Deborah Pierce

The College community remembers and commemorates Deborah Pierce’s life and legacy.
The College community remembers and commemorates Deborah Pierce’s life and legacy. Photo courtesy of Humans of Williams

On March 7, 2014, President Falk sent out an all-campus email to inform the student body and the College faculty of the passing of Deborah Pierce, dining services staff member since 2006, whom many students knew as the cheery Eco Café attendant in Schow atrium. According to a North Adams Police report, Pierce died in the morning when her minivan crashed on Rt. 2. She was driving alone.

“Deb was my was right-hand man.We worked together and were so compatible with one another that I feel lost without her,” Karen Marchegiani, Eco Café attendant and Pierce’s co-worker of eight years, said. “We together side-by-side, literally. She touched my arm when we worked. I knew how much I could push her; she knew how hard she could push me.”

“She loved [the students]. We worked together to get [students] on time to class every day because we knew how upset [students] were when [they] weren’t on time. I see how much [the students] miss her too,” Marchegiani said.

“We had French onion soup [yesterday morning], and that was her favorite,” Marchegiani recalled. “We’re getting little glimpses that remind us of her.”

Students who worked with Pierce also felt the shock of losing such a valued member of the dining services staff. “Deb was great to work with. She was welcoming and fun and really loved working with the students,” Clara Pomi ’17, who worked with Pierce at Eco Café, said. “I was shocked to hear what happened, and Eco won’t be the same without her there. She was just always so hard working, but also so sincere.” Pomi also noted that Pierce had a genuine enthusiasm for working with all of the staff at Eco Café.

“Deb loved her family. She would do anything in the world to help them,” Bob Volpi, director of dining services, said. “During the spring, summer and fall, Deb enjoyed riding her bike. She could easily ride up to 50 miles in a day. She began working with

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us in dining services in 2006. At that time, Deb was part of the Lee Snack Bar team. Deb moved to the Eco Café in 2010. She will be sadly missed by all of us in dining services. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her family.”

In response to this tragedy, Rick Spalding, Chaplain to the College, sent out another all-campus email encouraging the Williams community to “honor and give thanks” for Pierce’s life. Rick Spalding also added “We’ll remember the pride she took in her work, the warmth which she greeted hundreds of regular customers and her passion for cycling the highways and byways of Berkshire County.”

The email extended an invitation to celebrate Pierce’s memory at a memorial gathering this Thursday beginning at 2:15 p.m. in Eco Café.

Pierce will be sorely missed by all of the students, faculty and staff at the College for her contributions in her many years of service to the community.