Selma Pierce, a month earlier than the November election, posted an abridged model of her life story on her public Fb web page.
The daughter of an immigrant Chinese language household, she studied within the College of California increased schooling system, skilled to develop into a dentist, married a physician, moved to Salem and raised two youngsters.
Their monetary prosperity allowed them to donate numerous hours and cash to a protracted checklist of charitable causes, together with Household Constructing Blocks, Liberty Home, Oregon Well being & Science College, American Most cancers Society, Oregon League of Minority Voters, Union Gospel Mission, Kroc Middle, Western Oregon College, Medical Groups Worldwide, Salem Management Basis, Oregon Neighborhood Basis, United Means and Help League.
“To whom a lot is given, a lot is anticipated,” she wrote within the put up, a mantra her household lives by.
The neighborhood that has benefitted from the household’s items was left heartbroken by Selma’s sudden dying Tuesday.
She wasstruck by a car whereas strolling just a few blocks from her West Salem house. She was 66.
An remark made by good friend and marketing campaign supervisor Zachary Sielicky resonated with many: “There’s a cause you can’t spell Salem with out Selma.”
Selma shall be remembered as a neighborhood chief, public servant and philanthropist.
She had an affect within the halls of state authorities, although she by no means gained a seat within the Oregon Legislature, and within the trenches of nonprofit service, the place she was a champion for the underserved.
“Selma Pierce was a servant chief within the truest type,” Shaney Starr instructed members of the Rotary Membership of Salem throughout its digital assembly Wednesday. “She modeled the interior power of a large, the quiet braveness of a lion, but she walked with grace and humility.
“The lack of Selma leaves a void that’s huge and deep, but really immeasurable.”
Starr, govt director of CASA of Marion County, was launched to Selma’s husband Bud Pierce round 2008 when she labored for the Marion-Polk County Medical Society and Medical Basis.
“You might need met Bud first,” she mentioned, “however it was all the time Bud and Selma.”
Buddies and acquaintances cannot think about him with out her.
“If ever there was an instance of 1 plus one is larger than two, it is these two,” good friend and fellow philanthropist Dick Withnell mentioned.
In 2010, they had been chosen collectively for the Salem First Citizen award, recognizing their contributions to the commuity.
Bud and Selma Pierce had been married for almost 40 years. They met at UCLA when she was a dental scholar and he was an MD-Ph.D. scholar. They moved from California to Salem in 1994, after they bought property in West Salem and constructed their present house.
Selma has been retired as a dentist for a number of years, though she’s been a devoted volunteer offering dental care to youngsters and adults with out entry. Bud continues to work as an area doctor and oncologist.
“The love that Bud and Selma had for each other is really like a storybook,” Sielecky mentioned. “They might all the time be collectively, as a lot as they may with Bud working lengthy hours. That just about made Selma wish to work tougher, and that made Bud wish to work tougher due to the stuff she was doing locally. They utterly fed off one another’s power and drive to assist folks.”
Caring and giving have lengthy been within the couple’s DNA. They help causes and organizations not simply regionally however within the Portland space.
“They not solely introduced in financial assist to so many initiatives,” Withnell mentioned, “they introduced in sweat fairness.”
That, to many individuals, was extra essential than any verify they ever wrote.
“There’s so many individuals that may write a verify,” mentioned Sielicky, who is also the membership supervisor for the Salem Space Chamber of Commerce. “However the hours and time they gave again go far past any monetary contribution.”
Bud and Selma’s checks had been influential, although. They donated $500,000 to assist construct the Kroc Middle in Salem and on high of that helped increase one other $1.5 million to $2 million for the neighborhood middle.
Buddies described Selma as real, and somebody who handled everybody the identical.
“She simply had this interior resolve and this interior power and a quiet braveness,” Starr mentioned. “There are folks on this world who make you chortle extra, make you smile extra and make you reside a greater life, and that was her.”
In recent times, each Bud and Selma sought public workplace. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2016 and earlier the identical day his spouse died, had simply introduced he would run once more in 2022.
It is unclear how her dying will affect his determination.
“He is a rock, however on the identical time he is human,” mentioned good friend Chuck Adams, Pierce’s political guide in his first gubernatorial race. “This was such an out-of-the-blue, utterly random tragedy.
“Proper now his No. 1 focus is his household. As Bud says, Selma was the glue that held the household collectively, and now that’s gone.”
Selma ran twice to signify District 20 within the Oregon Home of Representatives, successful the Republican major in 2018 and 2020 however falling in need of unseating incumbent Paul Evans. In between, she labored as a legislative aide for the late Sen. Jackie Winters.
Pam McClain, Winters’ daughter-in-law and chief of workers, admired Selma for wanting boots-on-the-ground expertise after dropping her first race. McClain noticed similarities between Jackie and Selma, together with how they had been each energetic locally.
“Selma had a coronary heart as massive as anybody I’ve ever recognized,” McClain mentioned. “If I am evaluating her to Jackie’s coronary heart, that is about as excessive reward as you will get.”
Selma thought-about operating for workplace a privilege for a girl of colour. She by no means forgot to acknowledge those that paved the way in which earlier than her. She by no means dwelled on dropping.
“It was only a web page in a ebook that she turned over and mentioned, ‘What can I do subsequent?’ ” Withnell mentioned.
No data is obtainable at the moment about memorial service preparations.
Capi Lynn is the Statesman Journal’s information columnist. Her column faucets into the guts of this neighborhood — its folks, historical past and points. Contact her at clynn@StatesmanJournal.com or 503-399-6710, or comply with her on Twitter @CapiLynn and Fb @CapiLynnSJ.