REMEMBERING MARK: Pearson Leaves Legacy
Countless thousands of Iowans relied on Mark Pearson as the voice and face of the state’s farming community. Pearson died of a heart attack Sunday at his home near East Peru at the age of 54.
Since 1994, Pearson hosted WHO Radio’s “The Big Show”, showcasing the latest news and information in agriculture. Longtime broadcaster Keith Kirkpatrick hired Pearson at WHO Radio. He praised Pearson’s humor, dedication and attention to details. Kirkpatrick recalled, “Memory, what a memory. I remember hearing him on Who Radio not too long ago. I don’t remember who he was interviewing. He said, ‘back in 1986…’ He quoted some numbers, holy cow! How can he do that?”
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talked with Pearson often during his current post, along with his two terms as Iowa governor. He keeps Pearson’s bobblehead on his desk in Washington, D.C. Vilsack said, “Mark lived life with gusto and I think that’s an example for every single one of us. Every day we’re on this day is a gift.”
Pearson’s daily conversations with Iowa’s farm community continued on television, where he served as one of the faces of Iowa Public Television statewide for more than two decades. He hosted “Market to Market” that aired in 20 states.
Jennifer Konfrst summed up what Pearson brought to her and her co-workers at IPTV. “He brought a lot of knowledge. He brought a lot of humor. And most importantly, he brought a lot of friendship. He’s funny. He’s caring and he works hard and he just really had a humor that he brought to us and a lot of expertise and that’s definitely going to be missed.”
Konfrst said the show plans a tribute to Pearson’s contributions when it tapes Friday and will allow Iowans to share their memories of him at IPTV’s booth at the state fair.