Jean Gillespie Perry passed away surrounded by her loving family on March 29th at the Kaplan Family Hospice Home in Danvers.
Jean grew up in Somerville, one of six children of Charles and Elizabeth Gillespie, where she graduated from Somerville High School in 1948. While in high school, she met the man of her dreams, Alfred Perry, and they were married in 1951. This love endured over 70 years.
This is one of the true love stories in our era, as they were inseparable, and totally in love. They raised their six children, the early years in Somerville and then in Reading, where they built a home based on family, love, and faith. The family eventually grew to include sixteen grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren.
Family meant everything to Jean. Her life revolved around family and 10 Spring Street was a regular gathering place. Jean loved her children and was proud of each of them. From Christmas Eve celebrations, birthday parties, which included the Perry signature singing of Happy Birthday, game nights, regular coffee gatherings after church on Sunday, shopping expeditions with her daughters and picnics around the pool, she was always at the center. Jean also had a talent of making everyone feel extra special. Ask any of her grandchildren and they would tell you they were “Nana’s” favorite. Also very important in Jean’s life were her brothers and sisters, Betty, Charlie, Walter, Madeline, and Paul. For more than 50 years, she was fortunate to live next door to her sister, Madeline, with whom she shared an exceptionally close bond.
Jean’s warm and loving way drew people to her. She found the goodness in everyone. Jean was a devoted friend as evidenced by her enduring and life-long friendships. From her classmates at Somerville High School, lovingly referred to as the “48ers”, to the Blue Water group, to Meadowbrook “9 Holers”, to St. Athanasius where she attended daily mass, and to friends from her Somerville roots and Reading community. Jean was loved and embraced by all.
Jean is survived by her husband, Alfred L. Perry, of Reading, and her six children. Alfred M. Perry, and his wife Lynda, of North Andover; Michael C. Perry, and his wife Mary Kay, of Moscow, ID; Kathleen Zager, and her husband Greg, of Methuen: Nancy Stark, and her husband Bob, of Wilmington; David W. Perry, of Reading; and Suzanne Algeri, and her husband Steve, of Reading.
Jean has sixteen grandchildren, Darryl, Bryan, Kristyn, Marc, Allyson, Anthony, and Tia Perry; Joy and Matthew Perry; Katie Lynch, Erin Zager and Greg Zager, who predeceased his grandmother; Jason and Jon Stark; and Nicole and Michael Algeri.
Jean has sixteen great grandchildren, including Brayden, Haylie, Lucas, Reese, Brianne, Celia, Logan, Cameron, Riley, Cooper Perry ; Brooke, Baylie, and Blake Baker; Cydney and Brandon Rice, and Ethan Stark.
Family and friends are cordially invited to gather and share memories with her family on Tuesday, April 3rd from 4 to 8pm in the Funeral Home. Funeral will begin at the Funeral Home at 10am on April 4th with a Funeral Mass to follow at 11am in St. Athanasius Church in Reading. Interment will be at the Forest Glen Cemetery. A reception will follow at Meadowbrook Golf Club. In lieu of flowers, please consider making gifts in Jean’s memory to St. Athanasius.