Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man's Death a Moving Experience for Families

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Man's Death a Moving Experience for Families

Article excerpt

Byline: AMELIA A. HART, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Two Nassau County families introduced by tragedy last week mourned an outgoing young man who died following an accident at a popular west Nassau cornfield maze.

Family and friends gathered Friday morning at North Jacksonville Baptist Church to say good-bye to Joshua A. Pierce, 20, of Yulee.

Pierce died early Oct. 10, after a swing set made of cypress logs at Conner's A-Maize-ing Acres, a cornfield maze and "agritainment" park in Hilliard, came apart Oct. 9 while Pierce was on one of the swings.

Pierce's sister, Jessica Pierce, said Thursday her brother had gone out to the maze with a group of friends.

Nassau County Sheriff's Office Lt. Thomas Reeves said the swing set's cypress logs were notched to fit together, similar to the construction method used to build log cabins.

Pierce was on a rope swing when the top log, which supported the swings, came out of the notch, knocking Pierce down. The log fell on Pierce, causing the fatal injuries.

"It's hard for me to imagine how that log came out, but it did," Reeves said.

Jessica Pierce remembered her brother, who went by Josh, as "great" and "fun-loving."

"He was outgoing, yet shy at the same time," she said. "He loved his friends, he loved his church and he loved Jesus."

Among the mourners Friday were members of the Conner family, who own and operate the cornfield maze where Pierce was injured.

The maze, which this year was cut in the shape of the Super Bowl XXXIX logo, had only opened the week before the fatal accident.

The Conners attended the funeral with the permission of the Pierce family. Jessica Pierce said it had not been a difficult request for her family to grant.

"What happened was an accident; it was not their fault," she said. "It was a complete accident."

Betty Jean Conner said Thursday that her family was heartbroken by the accident, and that their prayers went out to the Pierce family. …

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