Born in 1906 to William Edgar Pearce and Fannie Jane Hileman Pearce, Cora Alice Pearce lived in Illinois for her entire life She married Lee Oliver Brim and gave birth to two daughters: Wanda Jane in 1929 and Pansy Lee in 1932. However, happiness between the couple ended in 1933 with the premature death of her husband. He accidentally poisoned himself with a batch homemade moonshine. Eventually, she remarried to Everett Johnson and had Geraldine in 1937. She died in 1938 of tuberculosis leaving her three daughters in the care of her brothers.