On May 3, 2018, Donna Jean Perry, 86, of Jackson, Ohio, slipped from her earthly bonds and reunited with her heavenly family and friends. Recently she has been surrounded by her loving family while under hospice care at her daughter and son-in-law’s residence in Chillicothe.
Born a farmer’s daughter to Cyrus and Mary Nichols on March 5, 1932, Donna was one of 11 children. She was predeceased by brothers, Herman, Floyd, Cliff and Bill; sisters, Mary Margaret, Betty, Mary Evelyn and Marcella; as well as her husband, William Earl. Sister, Nancy (Prindle), brother, Ralph Dale Nichols, and sisters-in-law, Betty Copenhaver and Phyllis Perry, survive.
Donna attended Jackson High School where she played clarinet in the marching band. After graduation she worked as a waitress at the Vinton Inn in McArthur. It was here that she met the love of her life, William Earl (Bill) Perry and they were married on May 24, 1953. This union was blessed with three children, Gary Allen, Dennis Lee (wife, Debbie Jean Bleigh), and Debra Jean Blewitt (husband, Doug Blewitt).
Following the birth of Debra, Donna and Bill moved to their permanent residence at 39 Westlawn Street. While Bill (affectionately known as Tuffy and Willie) was busy working with his brothers and nephews at E.E. Perry and Sons to “bring home the bacon,” Donna was being the best mother for which her family could ever hope. Besides being a full-time homemaker and raising three rambunctious kids, Donna worked at Wilson’s Grocery, then for many years at Buckeye Mart (Fisher Big-Wheel) in what was then the new shopping center in Jackson.
During the early years of the Perry family, many summer weeks were spent with her extended family at her parents’ farm located behind the Fairgreens Country Club. The activities and mischief that the younger kids managed to get into at the farm were legendary and are now a part of family folklore.
While Donna had many good and faithful friends and neighbors, her pride and joy was her family. She was always there for her children, whether it was a hug and kiss for the multitude of bumps and bruises of childhood, help with homework or words of encouragement for social or academic challenges, a weekly ice cream treat on Sunday evening right before watching Disney on TV, or her loving direction to steer the Perry kids through life’s trials and successes; Donna was their rock.
She also was known throughout Jackson as a quilter extraordinaire; she received several awards when entering her quilts in local contests such as the Apple Festival. Most precious are the quilts that she made for her children and later for her grandchildren and even for her great-grandchildren. They will be treasured forever. And no family gathering was complete without her cooking. Nothing compared to her noodles, potato salad, vegetable soup, green beans and potatoes and pumpkin pie, as well as her cookies and lemonade.
A lifelong Elvis fan, Donna made the pilgrimage to Graceland in Memphis with her daughter, son-in-law and their children. Additionally Donna went on a summer vacation to Virginia Beach again with her daughter, son-in-law and their children, as well as son Dennis, daughter-in-law Debbie and their family. This was her first and only time seeing the Atlantic Ocean.
A zealous Buckeye football fan, Donna and husband Bill spent many anxious hours watching her Buckeyes on TV with numerous side bets hanging in the balance.
In addition to a number of nephews, second cousins and other relatives, Donna is survived by her children: Gary Allen of Jackson, Dennis Lee, wife Debbie of Upper Arlington and Debra Jean, husband Doug Blewitt of Chillicothe. Additionally her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are here to bear testimony to Donna’s legacy. This includes grandchildren Drew Perry of Upper Arlington, Heather McCreary, husband Sean McCreary with children Colin James, William (Liam) Dennis and Cora Jean of Upper Arlington; Sara McEwen, husband Eric Tucker McEwen with children AnnaLee Roberts, Reese Winfrey, and Matthew Fisher of Huntingtown, Maryland; and Seth Blewitt, wife Sayaka (Hamanaka) with children Dylan Shouta; Miles Shunsuke and Norah Sae of Chillicothe.
Over 2,000 years ago, the philosopher Sophocles said one must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been. For those of us who knew Donna Jean Perry, we can only conclude that her life has produced a day that was splendid beyond measure.
Funeral services will be held at the Mayhew-Brown Funeral Home on Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m. with Pastor Steve Matthews officiating. Burial will follow in Fairmount Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until the time of the service at 2 p.m.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.mayhew-brownfuneralhome.com