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Betty Perry

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Betty Perry Obituary
Perry, Betty
Betty Marie Perry, 87, died peacefully on September 5, 2009, at her daughter's home after an extended illness. She was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Eugene Bell and her beloved husband, David J. Perry, who died in 1984. Born on August 24, 1922 in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Betty was raised in Mansfield. She attended the University of Michigan and then Ohio State University, graduating in Physical Education. On September 8, 1943, Betty and Dave married at Fort McClelland, Alabama, soon before Dave was deployed to the South Pacific. To support the war effort, Betty assembled fuel tanks for bombers at a Goodyear plant in Mansfield before beginning her teaching career. She taught P.E. and coached girls' sports, first at a girls' reform school, then at Mansfield High. The class of 1945 honored Betty as their special guest at heir 50th reunion for her inspirational teaching and successful advocacy of girl's competitive sports. Betty and Dave moved to Phoenix in 1947 and to Tucson in 1949, where Betty directed the P.E. program for St. Joseph's Academy Villa Carondelet and Dave attended law school, the foundation for his career as a lawyer and judge. After returning to Phoenix, Betty taught P.E. and coached tennis at Carl Hayden before retiring to raise their four children. Betty and Dave shared a lifetime love of competitive and recreational sports. Betty continued with season tickets to the Suns and Diamondbacks games and enjoyed following the teams with family and friends for her entire life. An exceptional leader, Betty brought tremendous talent, vision, hard work, energy, creativity, and excellence to her many volunteer pursuits. Always striving to leave the world a better place, she touched the lives of thousands, through Girls Scouts, Cub Scouts, school activities, the Maricopa County Bar Association Auxiliary, the Episcopal Church Women, Reading for the Blind, North Phoenix Republican Women, the Phoenix Symphony Guild and P.E.O. She served on her church vestry and as President of the ECW. Many successful women in all walks of life remember her as their favorite Scout leader. As founder and Chairman of the Bar Association's "Respect for Law Program," Betty's leadership brought legal education to 150 Maricopa County grade schools and 12,000 to 13,000 sixth graders every year for decades. The purpose of the Program was to teach students about law and the administration of justice when they are in school rather than when they are in trouble. For her tireless work on this nationally acclaimed program, the Maricopa County Bar Association honored Betty with the Liberty Bell Award in 1984. Betty also founded the North Phoenix Republican Women's Club, serving as its first President in 1963 and returning to that position twice over the next forty years. "The Barry Song", which she wrote to support Goldwater's 1964 presidential candidacy, was sung locally and at the Convention of the National Federation of Republican Women. In 1999, the NPRW honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Above all other things in her long, rich life, Betty, loved, treasured and nurtured her husband and family. She is survived by her sons Tom (Theresa) and Jim (Lucia); daughters Helen (Doug Grimwood) and Marjorie (Clague Van Slyke III); 10 grandchildren, Gene (Minerva) Grimwood, David (Christi) Grimwood, Sarah Perry (Cyrus) McWilliams, Julia and Kathryn Belle Perry; Nick, Alex and Laura Van Slyke; Roxanne and Ramona Perry; great-granddaughter Kathlyn Grimwood; sisters Marjorie Upperman and Mary Jean Reem, and numerous nieces and nephews. The family extends its deepest gratitude to Betty's devoted caregivers, with heartfelt and special thanks to Bea Nicholas, whose loving care sustained Mom and the family over the last several months. We also thank Hospice of the Valley. Friends may visit on Friday, September 11th between 5:00 and 8:00 P.M. at Hansen Mortuary, 8314 N. 7th St,, Phoenix, AZ 85020. Services will be held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 6501 N. 39th Ave. Phoenix, AZ, on Saturday, September 12th at 10:00 A.M. and burial will follow. Donations in Betty's memory may be made to St. Mary's Episcopal Church or to The Sudanese Education Foundation, 301 E. Bethany Home Rd, Ste A-205, Phoenix, Az 85012.

Published in The Arizona Republic from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2009
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