STRATFORD’S Mike Pearce, who was a well-known hotelier, sportsman, historian and Blue Badge tourist guide, has died after a short illness.
Born on 6th June 1932 in Wood Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, to Noah and Mollie Pearce, who themselves were well-known proprietors in the town of Pearce’s Tearoom and Delicatessen, Mike was the elder of two sons and attended Broad Street School and then King Edward VI School where he played rugby, was a keen fencer and competed successfully in the rowing first four.
Mike trained as a hotel manager at the prestigious Westminster School in London and after graduation worked at The Savoy, The Dorchester and The Westbury in the 1950s.
He met his French wife Ginette in London and they were married in Toulouse, France, in 1957.
Their four children were all born in Stratford. Mike and Ginette subsequently became successful hoteliers starting at the Plymouth Arms in Wood Street, Stratford, then in Hereford and later in Coventry.
Returning to live in Stratford in 1969, Mike worked at the University of Warwick as catering manager until his retirement in 1991.
Not willing to rest idle he embarked on his second career as a Blue Badge tourist guide thus incorporating two of his loves, history and Shakespeare.
He lectured in French in which he was fluent. In this role with The Heart of England he covered seven counties in the Midlands, often guiding in historical houses, castles and places of interest. His knowledge was prodigious.
After retirement he shared his time between England and France where he died on 9th August after a short illness.
Mike was a historian and an avid collector of books, owning thousands in both English and French.
He was an internationally recognised authority on First World War aviation and was treasurer for many years of the historical society Cross and Cockade.
Mike was an elected member of the Mousquetaires D’Armagnac and an active member of the Anglo-French society in Stratford.
Mike was much loved by his family and friends and is survived by his wife Ginette, nee Expert, his brother Paul and his wife Nina and his children Caroline, Nicholas, Isabelle and Catherine, and grandchildren Noah, Alexander, Camille and Charles.