Dennis Clayton Perry
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AGE: 61 • Monmouth Beach
Dennis Clayton Perry, 61 years old, residing in Monmouth Beach, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, in the Hospice Unit of Monmouth Medical Center with his wife, Vicky at his side. He was surrounded by the love of family and friends who kept a constant vigil with prayers of comfort and support throughout his brief but difficult illness. Dennis was born on Dec. 18, 1950 in the Bronx, the second son of Russell and Adele Perry. Raised in Fair Lawn, he was a graduate of Newark College of Engineering and obtained his Masters Degree from the University of Idaho while in the United States Air Force where he also completed his pilot training in Laredo, Texas. After active duty, Dennis worked for over 30 years as a Captain for American Airlines where he primarily flew International flights.
Dennis was predeceased by his parents, Adele and Russell Perry; and in 2001 by his wife of 10 years, Karen Muth Perry. Anyone who knows Dennis knows he passionately loved life and that an early death was not part of his carefully executed plan. Dennis was looking forward to a retirement of travel with Vicky, his loving wife of six years and devoted companion of nearly 10 years. He also looked forward to greatly improving his golf game with his buddies, Mike Chiaffitella and Dominic Basile. He was especially fond of spending time with his stepchildren, Thomas Cece and Trisha Kilgour, as well as their spouses, Veelanun Cece and Robert Kilgour who live in neighboring towns. He had a special place in his heart for his grandchildren, Donald age 3, Cody age 19 months, and Grace Victoria Kilgour, 2 months. One of Dennis's favorite pastimes, since his lifelong dream was to play Centerfield for the Yankees, was teaching Donnie how to play ball. Dennis excelled in sports which included baseball, basketball, and football but traded these career dreams for more practical life work.
Dennis, known as "DC" to his Air Force buddies, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was proud to serve his country. He separated from active duty in 1979 when he was hired by American Airlines and joined the Air Force Reserve at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station, PA. He served as an instructor pilot, evaluator pilot, flight commander, and Chief of Standards and Evaluations. During operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he was deployed as a Commanding Officer to Thumrait, Oman from January to May 1991 and earned an Air Medal for numerous combat and combat support missions. He was admired by his colleagues and appreciated by their families for bringing their loved ones safely home from Desert Storm. He retired from the Air Force in 1998.
Dennis was a tall man with a big heart. He was friendly and gregarious and could find a common ground with a perfect stranger, having a unique ability to put everyone at ease. He possessed the wonder of a child for flying and adventure and a kindness that touched all those fortunate enough to come within his magnetic embrace. He was genuinely self-effacing yet his humility belies his many personal and professional accomplishments. Sadly, his time was cut short but his legacy lives on.
Also surviving are his brother, Russell Perry and his sister-in-law, Jane Perry from Rockaway, NJ; his nephew, Christopher Perry and his wife Jackie, as well as their sons, Brendan, Ryan, and Justin from Fair Lawn, NJ; his nephew, Andrew Perry and his wife Laura from Suffern, NY; and Julie Parker, his stepdaughter.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12 at the Church of the Precious Blood R.C. Church, 72 Riverdale Ave., Monmouth Beach. Interment will follow at Fair View Cemetery, Middletown. Memorials may be made to Saint Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center at Monmouth Medical Center, c/o Saint Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center, 95 Old Short Hills Road, 1st Floor, West Orange, NJ 07052.
Thompson Memorial Home
310 Broad St. Red Bank, NJ 07701
Published in Asbury Park Press on Nov. 10, 2012