Cover photo for Ian Karl Pierson's Obituary
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1996 Ian 2023

Ian Karl Pierson

October 21, 1996 — December 29, 2023

South Hero


Ian Karl Pierson, born on October 21, 1996, in Burlington, Vermont, passed away on December 29, 2023. He was a beloved son of Bernadette and Donald Pierson and a cherished sibling to Seth, Stefan, and Maria Pierson. Ian was a relentless fighter for 27 years, a beacon of resilience who endured numerous infections and surgeries with courage, defying the odds stacked against him. His remarkable journey was made possible by the unwavering dedication of his devoted parents, wonderful caregivers, and medical teams, showcasing the power of love and commitment that prolonged and enhanced Ian's special needs life.

His unshakable spirit, coupled with patience and perseverance, became the cornerstone of his personality. Though limited in verbal communication, Ian spoke volumes through his expressive eyes and subtle mouth movements, endearing himself to everyone who encountered him. His unique ability to teach those around him the virtues of accepting life’s challenges was a precious gift. His presence was a reminder that life's struggles could be faced with grace and courage.

One could often find Ian swinging in his room, captivated by the enchanting dance of hummingbirds outside his window. This was a testament that simple pleasures brought him happiness. Among the many things Ian enjoyed were watching sports, especially football with his Dad. Ian also loved dancing in his wheelchair to music with his Mom. Whether it was melodious tunes playing in the background or his favorite songs on repeat, he found solace and comfort in the melodies.

Ian's life was enriched by the tremendous efforts of those who cared for him. His oldest brother Seth, in his unwavering dedication, developed a remarkable app that guided Ian's caregiving and engineered Ian's room for accessibility and ease of care. Alongside Seth's innovations, Maria's special care fostered a deep bond, with shared moments like watching movies and indulging in skincare routines that included face masks and spa days. Ian was also delighted in listening to his late brother Stefan play their grandmother's antique guitar as he appreciated hearing the live resonance of the strings. Amidst these cherished moments, Ian found joy in the company of his caregivers, who read mystery and historical novels aloud, creating a world of literary wonders that enriched his life. Ian was also loved by all of his grandparents but had a special connection with his “Dzdyzia” who cared for him for many years. Ian’s face would light up when listening to his voice, hearing stories, and singing Polish songs.


The sensory garden in Ian’s backyard was an oasis of delight for him. Every visit brought Ian closer to the wonders of nature, allowing him to engage his senses and revel in the beauty that surrounded him. The serenity of boating on calm waters, especially along scenic Lake Champlain, held a special place in his heart, creating cherished family memories. His appreciation for the outdoors also extended to strolls up the country lane, where the company of family or caregivers added joy and comfort to the precious moments in his life.

Ian's spirit soared when the Pierson family had the opportunity to visit Disney World through Give Kids the World, creating a unique and cherished memory. This trip, meticulously planned and executed through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, was a rare occasion where the entire family could vacation together, making it a truly special experience. The family remains tremendously grateful for the support that made this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible, forever treasuring the joy and togetherness it brought to Ian and his entire family.


In the face of the daunting COVID-19 pandemic, Ian’s family tirelessly cared for him, working diligently to shield him from the deadly virus. Even though the times were very difficult, it created some of the fondest memories as a family. Ian's resilience stood out as a source of strength as uncertainties were navigated together. Adapting to the new circumstances, his family discovered that unity and love could triumph over adversity. Ian's tenacity underscored that, even in a global crisis, the power of family and love prevails.


A Mass celebrating Ian's remarkable journey will be held on January 5, 2024, at St Rose of Lima Church in South Hero, Vermont. The service will commence at 11:00 AM. Following the service, around noon, a celebration of life will take place at the Pierson’s residence at 90 Lombard Lane in South Hero. Friends and family are warmly invited to attend either or both events in remembrance of Ian's special life.


In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to CIDER, Inc (South Hero), an organization that played a vital role in transporting Ian within the community, and South Hero Rescue, whose brave efforts in challenging conditions were essential to his well-being.


To conclude, the family wishes to share a poignant poem that resonates with Ian's fighting spirit:


“We are fighters” by Amelia Blackwater


“We are fighters

Our illness does not define us

It gives us strength

That others do not have

Beauty that shines

Through darkness

Because we are capable of

Moving mountains with

Our hearts.”


Ian's passing leaves a void in our lives, but we find solace in knowing that he is at peace. Let us celebrate his memory by embracing the joy, love, and compassion he embodied throughout his time with us. May we carry his light within us always.

To order memorial trees in memory of Ian Karl Pierson, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

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Friday, January 5, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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