Pearson leaves legacy of service

Posted By | November 27, 2008 12:00 am

Margaret Pearson was all smiles when she was announced as the 2001 Citizen of the Year. Partially hidden behind Pearson is her longtime and dear friend, Annie Martin Mitchell, who preceded her in death.

The first and only female mayor of Sparta passed away Wednesday, leaving behind a lifetime of service and commitment to her community.
Margaret Pearson, whose true age never seemed to be a factor in how hard she worked, first became a part of the political arena in 1987, when she was the first woman elected to Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen. This was only one of many “firsts” for Pearson. She was also the first female elected as mayor, which occurred in 1991. Pearson served two, 2-year terms as the leader of City of Sparta. In 2000, she was elected again to the position of alderwoman, where she remained until her declining health caused her not to seek reelection in April 2008.
Pearson was also the first, and only, woman to-date to be selected as The Expositor’s Citizen of the Year, an honor that was bestowed upon her in 2001.
Pearson was an educator and began her teaching career in White County, in 1946. She taught English, as well as health and physical education classes.
In 1952, she was selected to receive a scholarship from the state to attend University of Tennessee and train as a speech and hearing teacher. Because of her training, she became the statewide director of staff development for Tennessee’s Special Education Department. Pearson was instrumental in the development of many of the state’s special education training programs.
She also taught at Tennessee Technological University, Middle Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, U.T-Knoxville, University of Memphis, and Washington University at St. Louis, Mo.
In 1997, she was selected as one of 10 outstanding educators in the field of special education in Tennessee.
Pearson helped with the development of securing a senior citizens center in Sparta. In addition, she served as a Sunday School teacher at Sparta First United Methodist Church
The accomplishments of this well loved woman surpass the realms of imagination.
As her longtime neighbor and “buddy” Dr. Charles Mitchell said when Pearson was selected as Citizen of the Year, “To her neighbors on Highland Drive, she is first in our hearts because of her care and concern for each of us. She brings honor to our community.”
No funeral service is scheduled. However, there will be a memorial service at a later date. The Expositor will publish that information when it is available.

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