PERRY, Rev. Nathaniel K. 60, of Worcester, retired Pastor of Belmont St. African Methodist Episcopal Zion (A.M.E. Zion) Church, entered heaven, home to his Lord, Thursday, July 28, 2016 with his cherished family gathered at his bedside. |
Not long after his birth to Leroy and Rosetta Perry, in Roanoke, VA, Rev. Perry accepted his call to the ministry. At the age of 17 he was ordained as a minister in the A.M.E. Zion church by Bishop Herbert Bell Shaw. He received his first pastoral appointments to Mount Zion A.M.E. Zion Church (Delway, NC) and Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church (Clinton, NC) while a student at Livingstone College (Salisbury, NC). He went on to pastor Beulah A.M.E. Zion Church (Forestville, CT) and Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church (Portland, ME). In 1984 he was appointed to Belmont St. A.M.E. Zion Church (Worcester, MA), and Worcester became home for the Perry Family.
In May of 1993 Rev. Perry was given the additional appointment of Presiding Elder of the Boston District of the New England Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Church. He was the overseer and caretaker of 13 churches, which stretched from Portland, ME to North Adams, MA. As Presiding Elder, Rev. Perry lovingly shepherded the Boston District until 2003 when he retired from that position due to declining health.
While serving as pastor of Belmont St. he also worked as a community leader in the city. Rev. Perry partnered with former City Manager Mulford to bring together city leaders and community members. Through a partnership with the College of the Holy Cross he launched the MCAS tutoring program. During his tenure he received the NAACP Community Service Award. In addition, he received multiple keys to the city from former mayors Konstantina Lukes and Timothy Murray. Rev. Perry's tireless efforts in the city and dedication to building a church home for generations to come took a significant toll on his health. In 2007, after over 23 years of nurturing his flock, Rev. Perry retired from pastoring Belmont St. In 2008 Rev. Perry accepted a position with Worcester Public Schools. Over the course of two years he worked at South High Community School as an in-house teacher.
Rev. Perry is survived by his wife of 40 years, Patricia G. (Tyler) Perry; his three children, Dr. Natalie J. Perry of Worcester, Jonathan T. Perry of Boston, and Spencer A. Perry of Somerville; three adopted sons Charles Delgado, Michael Taylor, and Ellis Cropper; two adopted grandchildren, Myles Esteves and Jabien Filmore; three siblings, Brenda (John) Sinclair of Murrells Inlet, SC, Rev. Dr. Leroy (Mary) Perry of Mt Vernon, NY and Gary (Carlleena) Perry of Southbury, CT; a niece, many nephews and a host of friends and other relatives. His parents predeceased him. The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the faithful caregivers, Ms. Sharon Watson, Ms. Eurika Pompilus, and the Critical Care Unit at St. Vincent's Hospital.
Rev. Perry enjoyed collecting antique clocks, gardening, travel, fishing and a good meal. He had a passion for reading, caring for people, and a great sense of humor. Besides his family, his ministry was the most important thing in his life. He spent his final days visiting the sick, comforting the brokenhearted, and sharing Christ. Undying faith in Christ Jesus is the legacy of Rev. Nathaniel K. Perry. He will be sorely missed.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 6th at 11:00 am at the Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church, 55 Illinois Street Worcester. Calling hours will be held at the church from 9:00 am until the start of the service. A private burial will be held on Monday, August 8th. The Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel, 370 Plantation St. is honored to assist the family with arrangements.
Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 2, 2016