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Carl David Perry

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Carl David Perry Obituary
Carl David


Knoxville - Carl David Perry, minister of music, teacher, and avid, lifelong traveler, died peacefully on 22 August 2013 at Tennova Residential Hospice in Knoxville, Tenn., surrounded by family. Carl lived a long and fruitful life. He died with the expectation of life in the hereafter and reuniting with loved ones, but he never lost his zest for this life, his curiosity about what lay beyond the next ridge, and his faith in his fellowman.

Born in 1922 in Danville, Va., to Jackson Howard Perry and Vada May (Hungate) Perry, Carl grew up in Danville and graduated from Schoolfield High School in 1939. A veteran of World War II, he served in Italy with the Army Air Corps in 1943-44. Shortly after the war, in 1945, he married Danville native Iris Haywood, a Navy ensign and registered nurse, with whom he enjoyed sixty-seven years of loving marriage until Iris's death in April 2013.

He attended the University of North Carolina on the GI Bill and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1949, with a degree in music and vocal performance. (In 1955 he obtained a master's degree in musicology from the same institution.) At Carolina he was president of the glee club and played Nanki-Poo to Andy Griffith's Ko-Ko in the Carolina Playmakers production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado." After graduation, he taught music and voice at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C. before entering what would be his life's work—church music. In 1951 he became minister of music of the First Baptist Church of Asheville, N.C. In 1967 he moved to Knoxville, Tenn. to assume the post of minister of music of First Baptist Church, Knoxville. In 1978 he resigned that post and became minister of music at West Hills Baptist Church in Knoxville, a position he retired from in 1989.

In his forty years as a choir director, he influenced music education and ministry throughout the region as one of the pioneer ministers of music in the Southern Baptist Convention, as a teacher at Asheville-Biltmore College (now UNC-Asheville) and Carson-Newman and in a private studio, and as a contributor to the journals of his profession. From 1971 to 1973 he was president of the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference. An ordained pastor, he also served at West Hills Baptist Church as minister to senior adults.

After his retirement from the music ministry, he was free to devote more time to his other passion: travel. From the early eighties, he had organized and led tour groups for World Ventures Travel in Knoxville. Beginning in 1989 and for the next twenty years, he was a custom trip specialist with the firm. Including travel for pleasure and professional travel, he managed to visit Europe over 35 times—usually accompanied by Iris--as well as the Far East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East. He read widely to support his interests, and he delighted in introducing friends and clients to his favorite cities and sites.

In both Asheville and Knoxville, Carl is fondly remembered for his many contributions to the community. In Asheville, he was president of the local Rotarians and a board member of the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Council. In Knoxville, he directed the music for the Knoxville Nativity Pageant for two decades and was a member and board member of the Knoxville Choral Society for many years. He was a tireless promoter of the 1982 World's Fair through the Speakers Bureau, which helped build community support for the fair, and was a frequent performer at World's Fair venues with his fellow Tunemasters, Carroll Logan and Dale Higginbotham.

Carl is survived by his brother, Richard Perry, and his wife Jean, of Fayetteville, N.C. and their children and families; a sister-in-law (and favorite aunt of several generations of nieces and nephews), Mavis Haywood, of Tampa, Fla.; son Carl David Perry, Jr. and his wife Heidi, of Carrboro, N.C. and their children Christine and Charles; daughter Iris Ann (Perry) Flood and husband Richard, of Vallejo, Ca. and their children Jennifer( Flood) Parsio and her husband Mike and their children Alexis and Josh, and Timothy Flood; and son Richard Haywood Perry and his wife Debbie and their children Rachel Perry, Ryan Perry, Eric French and his wife Connie and son Aiden, Lindsay (French) Serfass and her husband Mike, Tanya (French) Russell and her husband Ralph and their children Allie, Bo, and Claira, and Sean French and his wife Ildiko and their children Trisztan and Sebastian.

The family wishes to extend it gratitude to the caregivers from East Tennessee Personal Care Services, especially Crystal Presley, who gave caring attention to both Iris and Carl in the last year of their lives, and its profound thanks to the staff of Tennova Residential Hospice, who provided a warm and supportive place for friends and family to visit and share with Carl over the last month and assisted him in the final days.

A service to honor and celebrate Carl's life will be held at West Hills Baptist Church on Sunday, September 1, 2013, at 12:30 p.m., following the morning worship. The service will conclude with the "Hallelujah Chorus," and we invite all who have sung with Carl over the years to join the choir for this singing. A reception for friends and family will follow in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the music ministry of West Hills Baptist Church, 409 N. Winston Road, Knoxville, TN 37909, or to a charity of one's choosing. Online condolences may be extended at <>. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.

Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27, 2013
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