Herbert Louis Perry, 92 years old, passed away on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at the Good Samaritan Society -- Peoria Good Shepherd Memory Care Unit, Peoria, Arizona.
Herbert was born on June 5, 1925, in Streator, Illinois, the first child of Amber and Herbert Perry. His sister, Leah, was born three years later. When Herb was about five years old, his parents divorced and Herb and Leah went to live with their mother's parents in nearby Kernan, Illinois. They attended a country school and had a farm and woods to play in, and a creek to wade and fish in -- often bringing catfish back to their grandma to cook for dinner. Herb watched out for his little sister. Leah recollects that he spent a lot of money on her! Herb bought her a pair of roller skates and with his first paycheck as a teenage movie theater usher, purchased Leah a wool suit. After their mother re-married in about 1936, Herb and Leah moved to Davenport, Iowa, for one year to live with their mom and step-dad Roy Domer. They went back to their grandparents again for two years, now dwelling in Mt Hamill, Illinois, and then returned to Davenport for Herb's senior year of high school.
Herb would leave high school before graduating, to enlist in the US Marines in February of 1943. He was only 17. During WWII, Herb served as an Aircraft Armorer, repairing aviation ordnance equipment and loading ammunition belts, rockets, and torpedoes. He was stationed on the Marshall and Mariana Islands, New Hebrides, and Guam. During his service time Herb even managed to buy dental braces for Leah. After returning home to Davenport in 1945, Herb visited his father in Elmer, Missouri and helped his dad in some remodeling work. Herb also obtained his high school diploma, and courted Marion Ferguson, whom he married in 1946. After the birth of their son, Thomas, in 1951, the family of three moved to Wichita, Kansas, where their daughter Susan was born in 1952.
There the Perrys would live until they re-located to Mt Vernon, Illinois, in 1959, when Herb accepted a new job as a traveling salesman with DeLaval. Out of his company car, Herb sold dairy equipment to farmers throughout the state of Illinois for over 10 years. Herb also enjoyed collecting antiques from the farms he visited, especially old glass jars that came from farmhouse root cellars. When not on the road working, Herb loved to fish, camp, and go on family vacations to Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, and California. Herb and Leah always kept in close touch and often visited each other along with Herb's wife Marion, and Leah's husband, Al.
He was a "tool" guy and after leaving DeLaval, went to work in maintenance at Mt Vernon High School and the Holiday Inn. Susan and Tom were already out on their own by then. In addition, Herb was a property manager for several rental units that he and Marion owned. Another creative money-making project was transforming some pig barns into a boat and RV storage place that he managed. This turned out to be quite handy because Herb always owned a boat of some kind. He enjoyed barbecuing - one of his favorites was grilling pork steaks, slathered in barbecue sauce. Herb even made his own barbecue grill out of a sawed-in-half metal beer keg.
In 1999, Herb and Marion sold their Mt Vernon, Illinois, house and rental properties and moved to Mesa, Arizona, to enjoy for over ten years total retirement in a park model home at beautiful Valle del Oro. Life in the sun was made even better with an Arizona room, tool shed, golf cart, and a plethora of nearby eateries; buffets being Herb's first choice. Herb's last move would be in 2011, when Tom and Susan helped their parents, now both 86 years old, transition into the Good Samaritan retirement community located in Peoria, Arizona. There Herb and Marion first lived in a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with their own brick-walled patio, and later in the Memory Care Unit where both received excellent care. Marion would precede Herb in death by about eight months. Herb and Marion had been married for over seventy years.
Herb is survived by sister, Leah Fritz; son, Thomas Perry; and daughter Susan Perry. A memorial service was held at Good Samaritan Society Peoria Good Shepherd Chapel on August 10, 2017. A graveside service will take place at the family cemetery in Leando, Iowa, where his ashes will be interred over Memorial Day weekend, 2018, with military honors. Condolences for the family may be left at www.menkefuneralhome.com.
Published on October 18, 2017