Pioneer of Oklahoma television, Russell Pierson, passes away at 103

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OKLAHOMA CITY - NewsChannel 4 has lost a dear colleague. He was one of the true pioneers of Oklahoma television.

Russell Pierson was the Farm Director for WKY-TV and Radio at a time when agriculture was the backbone in most areas of our state.

He was born on a Greer County farm ten days before Christmas, 1911.  His parents grew cotton and wheat.

He thought he might be a cowboy for a while but he really wanted to be a track coach by the time he left for Oklahoma A and M.

Then, on the way to the train station, his father gave him some good advice.

“Son, he said, I’d like for you to study to be what Mr. Georgia is.” he recalled. “Mr. Georgia was our county agricultural agent.”

After two weeks at college he switched majors.

Russell still ran track and A and M.

He won one of the first Tulsa Marathons at age 17, and managed to woo the 1933 Ag Queen Bernice Strom.

“I loved her decidedly, and she loved me,” said Russell of his now departed wife.

Pierson became an Ag extension agent.

His 4-H teams won national titles.

He didn’t really think about becoming a broadcaster until WKY called out of the blue.

From the mid 50’s to the mid 80’s, almost 30 years, Russell was the first voice people heard on WKY radio and television too.

He gave the news and the market reports.

He went out and shot stories with Oklahoma farm families by himself.

Russell passed away this morning at the age of 103.

Services are pending.

 

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