Richard Tierce was gone from the Piedmont area for over two decades. The town had changed when he returned. There were new businesses. Some of the new faces he thought he saw weren’t actually new at all. They were people he’d known before he left; they had just aged and their facial features and sizes had changed.

“There was a pizza parlor on the corner,” he said. “I didn’t hardly know what a pizza was when I left.”

Tierce was born in Rock Run. He graduated from Spring Garden and joined the Marines. He went to boot camp at Paris Island, S. C., and then went to Memphis for electrical school. Tierce saw quite a bit of the world before he retired after 23 years. He went to Okinawa, Vietnam, Guam, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

He spent a year in Da Nang, Vietnam, as chief of maintenance for his squadron.

“We didn’t have to run around with a gun,” he said. “We were more of a support staff. We kept the air conditioning working.”

He retired at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a master sergeant and lived for the next 18 years in Sacramento, where he worked for civil service. That’s where he met his wife, Margaret, a New Jersey native. They married in 2001.

Margaret was in agreement with her husband when he mentioned he’d like to move back to his home.

“She was willing to relocate,” he said. “She decided to go somewhere where we could find some water and be together.”

The Tierces live on Terrapin Creek between Piedmont and Centre. They take advantage of the creek, especially when their grandchildren, Meredith, Nicolas and Kaden are around. They like to fish, kayak, canoe and swim with the grandchildren and the dog.

His daughter, Melanie Tierce, lives in Piedmont. Margaret’s daughter, Meri Pell, also lives in Piedmont.

Tierce’s parents are Alfred and Mamie (Mallows) Tierce. He had two brothers and three sisters. He’s lost a brother and a sister. He and his remaining siblings live within about 20 miles of each other.

Tierce is a life member of the VFW and American Legion. He likes to play golf, attend high school sporting events and keep up with his grandchildren. He has some issues with his kidneys and heart, but overall, at 72, Tierce said he feels well because he takes care of himself.

He’s happy he’s home. He continues to see faces he knew as a young man.

“It’s wonderful to be able to share these later years of life with my family and friends here in Piedmont,” he said.