Funeral services for Doris May Beery Perry will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, at the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Dan Howard and Eugene Dobbs will officiate. Interment in Cedarlawn Cemetery will follow the memorial service.
Mrs. Perry, 86, died on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at home from an extended illness. She was a homemaker, a retired elementary school teacher, and a community volunteer.
Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at McClain-Hays Funeral Home in Philadelphia. Pallbearers will be Junior Burrage, David Byars, Benny Newton, Alan Parkes, Dan Perry, Don Perry, Jim Perry, Bill Yates, and Stan Yates.
Mrs. Perry was born on July 21, 1924, in Findlay, Ohio, and lived her first five years in southern California, followed by several years in Schurz, Nevada. Her parents, Olin Roscoe and Mary Lois Wyatt Beery, were school teachers employed by the federal government to work with various American Indian tribes. When she was 12 years old, Mrs. Perry’s family moved to Philadelphia, where she lived until her death.
Graduating from Philadelphia High School, Mrs. Perry attended East Central Community College, where she was freshman class cheerleader, and Mississippi State College for Women. She met her future husband, Allen Glenn Perry, a young MSU civil engineering graduate and a captain in the U.S. Army, in Philadelphia, and they were married on May 4, 1948. After rearing their five children, Mrs. Perry finished her elementary education degree at MSU. She worked in the public school system as a substitute teacher at Neshoba Central Elementary School and as a teacher at the Philadelphia Elementary School.
Active in civic affairs, Mrs. Perry was a charter member and past-president of the Lydian Music Club and a member and past officer of the Home Arts Club and the Futura Club. She also served as a Girl Scout leader and a 4-H club leader.
Grounded in a strong Christian faith which she lived every day, Mrs. Perry was an active member of First Baptist Church for over 65 years. She served in the nursery, youth, and adult departments as a director and a teacher, helped with youth choirs, was a member of the chancel choir for over 40 years and the music group Square Notes and was a member, group leader, and past president of the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU).
It was at a WMU meeting that Mrs. Perry learned of the need for increasing adult literacy in the United States. Already a firm believer in the value of education, this new awareness led her, feeling guided by the Lord, to over a decade of very active involvement in adult literacy programs.
For a number of years, beginning in 1991, Mrs. Perry coordinated the Neshoba County Adult Literacy Program, actively participating as a teacher in the program, volunteering 10-20 hours per week. Always striving to improve the literacy program, Mrs. Perry also taught adult phonics programs to other literacy teachers and arranged for educational experts to conduct seminars for literacy teachers in teaching reading skills to adults. A member of the Governor’s Adult Literacy Council, she participated in numerous meetings throughout the state pertaining to adult literacy training.
In 1992, responding to a request from the administrator of the Neshoba County jail, Mrs. Perry initiated a GED program at the jail for inmates wishing to complete their high school education. A number of inmates completed the GED program and received their high school equivalency diplomas.
Mrs. Perry was recognized on numerous occasions for her volunteer work in adult literacy. In 1994, the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce and the Neshoba County Cooperative Extension Service presented her the Recognition of Outstanding Accomplishment in Community Leadership in Extension Home Economics award. Also in 1994, Mrs. Perry accepted on behalf of the Neshoba County adult literacy program the Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence award. The Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service selected her as Neshoba County’s Outstanding Extension Volunteer for 1994. In 1995, Mrs. Perry was presented the Governor’s Award of Excellence. The Philadelphia Sertoma Club awarded her the 1997 Service to Mankind award. The Neshoba Democrat chose Mrs. Perry as Neshoba County’s 2007 Woman of the Year. In 2008, she was awarded Rotary International’s District 6820 Inspiration for Service in Literacy award.
Mrs. Perry is survived by her daughters Barbara McLaurin (son-in-law, P. C. “Mac”) of Starkville, Janet Tichnell (son-in-law, Del) of Petal, and Sylvia Gasa (son-in-law, George) of Pensacola, Florida; sons John Michael “Mike” Perry of New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Thomas Glenn “Tommy” Perry (daughter-in-law, Denise) of Fort Worth, Texas; and grandchildren, Prentiss McLaurin III and wife Joanna of Starkville, Brian Tichnell of Valencia, California, and Ellen Tichnell of Petal, and Lydia Gasa, Julianna Gasa, and Gloria Gasa of Pensacola. She is also survived by sisters, Margaret Brasher of Jackson and Georgia Parkes of Starkville; sisters-in-law Natalie Brown and Patricia Perry, both of Philadelphia; and a host of nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, Mrs. Perry was pre-deceased by her husband of 58 years, Allen Glenn Perry, and two brothers, Joe Beery and John Beery.
Memorials may be made to the Allen Glenn and Doris Perry Scholarship in Civil Engineering at MSU, c/o the MSU Foundation, P. O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762; Missions at First Baptist Church, 414 Pecan Avenue, Philadelphia, MS 39350; or a charity of your choice.