Stanley “John” Pearce was born in Ayr, North Queensland, Australia on 5th January 1937 to a sugar cane farming family. He passed away on 4th June 2017. He is survived by his wife Kaye of 54 years, 2 sons and 2 grandchildren.
On leaving school he completed a 5 year apprenticeship as a motor mechanic and after some time working at his trade purchased a truck and front end loader mounted on a tractor and commenced working as a cane carter. In 1963 he bought a Toft tractor loader to replace the front end loader which he sold. In the same year he and his next brother were granted 50 acre cane assignments each and commenced planting sugar cane. In 1966 they bought their first cane harvester, a Toft J150 wholestalk machine and changed the Toft tractor loader for a Toft hydroload. In 1967 the J150 was changed for a Toft J250 wholestalk machine and in 1974 they bought their first chopper harvester, a Toft 364.
He travelled to Taiwan, Dominican Republic and Venezuela for Toft Bros for several years installing cane loaders and harvesters when farm work during the slack season permitted. He was also one of a 5 member committee appointed to research and report to the Western Australian Government on the feasibility of a sugar industry on the Ord River Irrigation Scheme.
He became involved in Liberal Party politics and was a candidate for the state seat of Burdekin in 1966 and 1969. For 10 years from 1967 he was a member of the Pioneer Mill Suppliers Committee, seven years on the Pioneer Local Sugar Cane Prices Board and member of the North Burdekin Water Board, as well as being a member of the Ayr Show Committee. He resigned from all these posts to make the first trip to Brazil in May 1977, where he was employed by Toft Bros as a Consultant.
On returning to Australia he eventually sold his farm to his two brothers and purchased a grazing property and then a refrigeration and air-conditioning business until in 1994 Austoft (as Toft Bros had then become) offered him a position based in Florida, responsible for the operations in Latin and South Americas and the Caribbean islands and from there back to Brazil in November 1994. He became Director Superintendent of Brastoft, a joint venture between Austoft and a Brazilian cane harvester manufacturer which was subsequently bought out by Case IH and 3 years later by Fiat-owned New Holland
Group which retained the Case name. He then became a Consultant for Case IH in Brazil until returning to Australia in August 2015.
John was a member of ISSCT for many years and his last participation in ISSCT was at the XXVIII Congress in Brazil in 2013. His colleagues will keep of him the image of a highly competent practical person passionate about sugar cane mechanisation.
On behalf of ISSCT Council and Executive Committee and all the Members, we would like to convey to John Pearce’s widow Kaye and to his sons and grandchildren our deepest sympathy.