Sunday, June 7, 2015

a sad goodbye to a great man

My Grandpa died when my Dad was fifteen.  He passed away leaving behind his young wife and five children.

My Dad was the oldest.

Every time I think about that Grandpa of mine my heart swells.  It's weird how you can feel so close to someone you've never even met, but I do.  He was an amazing man who left a huge hole to fill.

So throughout his life, with no Dad or fatherly figure around (my Grandma never remarried), my Dad wisely sought out good male role models.  He picked some pretty great ones I must say.  Men who steered and advised him in so many wonderful ways.

The one I have to take a moment to honor and respect before the day is through is Elder Perry.  He has served as one of the apostles in our church for many years, but my Dad met him way before that.
Back when he was his Stake President back in Boston.

He could feel his strong spirit right from the start and looked to him for advise and counsel in business and in life.

Those two kept in touch over the years.  Which meant we all got to know him.

He came to and spoke at the end of my mission farewell.  And he was the one who performed the marriage ceremony when Dave and I got married all those years ago.

A few years after his first wife passed away (cancer), he married Barbara, a wonderful woman from a small town next to my Mom's small town of Montpelier, Idaho at Bear Lake.

So every once in a while they would come through and say hi at our family reunion on their way to theirs.

He graduated in the same class of Logan high school that my Grandma did (my Dad's Mom).  Here's a glimpse of him at her funeral a couple years back.

I remember being in awe of him especially there.  We were surrounded by all these frail elderly people (my Grandma was 92).  But when Elder Perry came in he barreled down the hallway, broad shoulders making him look extra tall, with warmth and love and enthusiasm for life all over his face.

I remember thinking "that man is going to live into his 100's" he was so healthy and vibrant.  

I loved his conference talk so much this year.  Once again, so vibrant and strong...all about the importance of families.

But then suddenly his health took a turn for the worst.  Cancer that spread through him so quickly and he was suddenly gone.  My family along with the rest of everyone who knew and loved him were devastated.

The girls and I watched his funeral on Saturday, and later as I scrubbed the floor and helped direct the Saturday jobs I listened to he and Sister Perry's interview from a few years ago on the "mormon channel" ap on my phone.

It was so good.  

It made me miss that man even more, but filled my heart with gratitude for good people like him who tirelessly work to make a difference for others all their lives.  

So grateful for that good man.  He will be greatly missed by many.

More about him and his life HERE, and an article my Dad wrote about him HERE.


  1. So sorry for your loss of such a great man and role model. Praying for you.

  2. Loved this Shawni. He was the closest thing I had to a father after losing my dad.
    We wrote our Deseret News column on the same subject at

  3. What a beautiful tribute to Elder Perry. I had the opportunity to attend his funeral in the tabernacle. What a wonderful thing to see the brotherhood between all of the Quorum of the Twelve. We have wonderful leaders!

  4. What a nice tribute to Elder Perry. I thought I would let you know, that primaries all over the world sang the song, Families Can Ba Together Forever as a way to honor Elder Perry the Sunday after he passed away (including my primary!). I'm sure you remember the reference he made to the song in his most recent conference talk. It was beautiful and the spirit was strong. No have no doubt Elder Perry was smiling from heaven watching all of those children singing that tribute to him with enthusiasm!

  5. How wonderful that your father could have Elder Perry as a father figure in his life. What a fun thing for your family to be able to have Elder and Sister Perry be a part of your family. Kind of fun to see Elder Perry in casual street clothes. :)
    Elder Perry's last conference address was one of my favorite. What a great final message to leave the world. I couldn't help but wipe tears from my eyes when President Monson said, "On behalf of each of us, I offer these parting words to our beloved Elder Perry, 'Tom, God be with you 'til we meet again.'" He was such a great man and I have no doubt he is continuing his great work. Lisa

  6. This is so lovely. So happy that you get to have those pictures and those memories. :)

  7. I met Elder Perry in the presidents box at a BYU football game...he was so funny. He shook my hand and told me to make sure that I made my bed every morning :)

  8. Being an lds girl who lives in Missouri who has never been to Utah....i would watch conference in awe as a child etc. When i was very young, i decided that elder perry was my favorite. Why ? His big smile !! I wrote him a letter when i was around 12...telling him he was my favorite. He wrote me back. :) I've loved him even more as i became an adult and a mother etc. I would've loved a big bear hug from that man ! I was so sad when he passed but i realized that my own grandfather passed slowly, painfully and with amazing Grace and endurance. He was a good example but i would never ever want someone to go through that. I'm thankful that heavenly father took elder perry to be with him quickly so it saved him from such a terrible disease and possible slow death. I can't even imagine what that big smile looks like now in heaven !!! I'm sure it's never missing from his sweet face. :)


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