Delores 'Dee' Pierson was part of a large family of entertainers, born
in Hiawatha, Kansas. She started singing with sister Jeanie when she was just five or six years old.
When she was 10 and Jeanie was 14, they started visiting their sister
Cora Deane and began singing on radio stations in St. Louis, Missouri,
Shenandoah, Iowa (radio station KMA), Yankton, South Dakota (radio station
WNAX) and Bangor, Maine.
Dee tells us that she and Jeanie were a bit like their brother Willie
growing up. They entered entered every amateur contest that came along.
Their dad would take them just about anywhere to sing and perform.
She remembers that her dad listened to Henry Field a lot. Mr. Field
was the owner of radio station KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa. He talked
about the Harvest Jubilee in Shenandoah. That show would draw big
crowds. KFNF would sponsor amateur contests so their dad decided to
take the two of them to one of them.
It was 120 mile drive but you have to remember that in the late 1930's
that could be a long trip with the automobiles and highways of that era.
In fact, they had to cross the Missouri River on a ferry.
Jeanie & Dee sang and yodeled their tunes at the contest and won
the first place prize. This contest was judged by the applause of
Dee recalls Another time, when she was about ten years old and her sister
Jeanie was 14. They entered an amateur contest at the Wetmore, Kansas
fair. Again, they sang their tunes and won the contest's first prize.
Not only did they win, but the fellow in charge of the contest asked them
to come back the next year and put on a show at the fair. Dee notes that
was no problem as Jeanie loved to talk and could do play the role of emcee
in their part of the program. Dee says Jeanie spent a lot of time as
they grew up pretending she was on the radio.
When Dee graduated from high school, she knew she couldn't go to college.
Her folks could not afford it and there weren't any government loans to
take advantage of at the time. She was also working at a job she
didn't like. Then she got a call from her sister Jeanie one night.
She asked her to come on over and join her in Shenandoah as KMA
needed another female singer.
Dee auditioned for Glenn Harris, who was the program director for KMA
at the time and she got the job. At that time she joined the station, KMA had
on their roster such stars as The Blackwood Brothers
Quartet and the Everly family.
When she first got to Shenandoah, she stayed
with her sister Jeanie and her husband, Mack Sanders. The three of them
would practice at home and the KMA Guide mentions she teamed up with
her sister on the old KMA Country School show that aired on Saturday nights.
In early 1950, the KMA Guide shows Dee had her own program that
aired on Saturday afternoons at 1:45pm. She says she sang the popular
tunes of the era. Backing her up on the show were, Bob Barry played accordion,
Mack Sanders was on guitar, and Steve Wooden played bass. Later that summer,
she was hosting the "Dee Pierson Sings" show Monday through Friday
at 4:00pm also.
Dee and her sister Jeanie hold the distinction of being the
entertainers to sing on KMA's television station KMTV in Omaha,