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Dee Perry Billmeier

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Dee Perry Billmeier Obituary
Dee Perry Billmeier

Memphis - Dee Perry Billmeier, born on June 18, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois, finally let go after bravely facing a long battle with cancer. Surrounded by the loving support and constant care of her husband Jerry, and faithfully joined in mind and spirit by her adult children, grandchildren, friends, family, and caregivers, Dee passed away peacefully on May 20, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dee is fondly remembered. With renewable charm, acute intellect, and persistent humor, Dee approached life with passion, energy, and grace. Born Dee Joan Perry, daughter of Dorothy Ihrcke and Day Alan Perry, and older sister to Mark, her childhood was spent in Chicago and the surrounding area including treasured summers at the family's lakeside cabin. Educated at Amundsen High School and the University of Illinois, Dee began a short career in downtown Chicago before meeting her first husband.

A naturally curious and open-minded person, Dee's adventure unfolded with a unique opportunity to move the young Keefe family to Europe in 1968 with children aged 4 and 2, settling first in England and later in Holland. Returning permanently to the States in 1972, the family moved to Memphis and eventually to East Memphis and into her current home. A few years later, as a young widow with children in high school, Dee returned to work to support her family, guiding first her son and then her daughter through transition into college.

Touched by providence, Dee married Dr. Jerry Billmeier in June 1985, beginning a new and vibrant chapter and welcoming an extended family into their combined home. Following Jerry's retirement after 32 years in pediatrics, Dee's involvement in community and church activities blossomed into an abiding spiritual commitment. As her illness took hold, Dee was continually moved by expressions of kindness and compassion: "That quality is the triumph of love / Transcending time to rise shining / Without measure, hovering over all" (Rev. Burton Carley).

Dee is survived by her husband Jerry; son Brian (Francoise) and daughter Heather (Brian); stepchildren Dabla, Mike (Tamara), and Chris; grandchildren Ryan, John, Liam, Aidan, and Hunter; sisters-in-law Diane, Ruth, Kerry, Bobbe, Sally, and Susan; nieces Janet, Susan, Sarah, and Erin; nephews Jeff and Matt; and other close family and precious friends who have offered generous support through her recent illness. Dee is pre-deceased by her father and mother, first husband Jack, brother Mark, stepdaughter Liz, brother-in-law Dean, and other beloved friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be welcomed in the spirit of remembrance to the charitable and community organizations that Dee so ardently supported.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on May 26, 2019
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