Friends Remembered: Charles Noland Pierceall

Charles Noland Pierceall

Charles Noland Pierceall, 89, of Washington, Illinois, died on Sunday, March 5, 2023.

Pierceall was born to Carl and Martha Pierceall in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, on Nov. 24, 1933.

Pierceall received the Carnegie Medal for attempting to save the lives of two men from suffocation in Fancy Farm on Aug.19, 1953. After a rescuer called out that he needed assistance removing a man who was overcome by lack of oxygen, Pierceall, then 20, entered a 16-foot cistern. The duo grasped the man, but the first rescuer suddenly collapsed. Pierceall, who was dizzy and nauseated, climbed to the top of the ladder and was pulled from the opening. He was helped to a nearby house, but he refused to rest, despite pleas from bystanders. He returned to the cistern, tied a rope to himself, and descended the ladder. He fastened a light chain around one man’s chest and climbed 10 feet before becoming so weak that he was pulled out of the cistern four minutes after his second entry. As the man was being pulled from the cistern, his body was inverted, with his head dangling downward. Pierceall requested to be lowered once more. He grasped the man by the hair and they were pulled from the cistern. Neither of the other men could be revived. Pierceall recovered after being rushed to the hospital and administered oxygen.

Pierceall worked as a supervisor in the dietary department at a hospital for 42 years, where he was fondly remembered for taking a personal interest in his employees, driving them to and from work when the weather would make it difficult for them to walk or take the bus. He was also respected for his mechanical skills at the hospital. He applied those skills in his retirement, buying and refurbishing rental properties.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy Sue; two sons, Bob and Ken; two daughters, Donna and Paula; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Joe; and great-grandson, Skyler; and nine of his 12 siblings.