A Life Lived: Gary Perry greeted everyone with a friendly smile

Published 11:34 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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Editorial Director
Gary Wayne Perry was one of those people, who never did anything to make the headlines, but he had a smile and kind word for everyone. And, he had helping hands.
Gary died April 16 at the age of 74. He grew up an only child of Earl and Marie Crow Perry. His only survivors were some aunts, an uncle, some cousins, and his church family at Keenburg Free Will Baptist. But, he had numerous friends, many of whom he made at the Elizabethton Car Show.
A friend and his caregiver, Shirley Tolley, said Gary was a regular at the Elizabethton car shows held on Saturday evenings in downtown Elizabethton. “He went to the car show every Saturday evening and usually sat with Wayne Johnson. But, he knew numerous people who attended the car show,” said Tolley.
Gary owned both a car and a truck, and he shined on them often.
Aside from attending the car show, Gary’s favorite thing to do was attend church at Keenburg Free Will. “He was faithful to his church and he enjoyed visiting church friends. He was also faithful to read his Bible,” said Tolley.
“He was the sweetest little guy, who had a smile and kind word for everyone. He was just a wonderful person,” said Tolley, who was a long-time friend and caregiver for Perry.
She noted that Perry before his parents died took excellent care of them.
Perry was a retired employee of Matheson Tool & Die. “He cooked for himself – just simple meals like soup and a sandwich, eggs and toast. And, he did other things around the house such as washing dishes and laundry, and grocery shopping,” Tolley shared. “He really enjoyed helping others.”
Michael Payne, on the funeral home tribute page, noted Gary’s kindness and that he seen him every Saturday evening at the Cruise-in in downtown Elizabethton. Kevin Sams wrote: “I worked with Gary at the Camara Inn way back in the ’80s and have never met a nicer man.”
Gary Perry never made the evening news nor did he have a college degree, but the one thing he did have was love and respect for his fellowman, and the desire to be a friend to everyone. His life was marked with a smile and kindness – an example we all could follow.
Gary Wayne Perry was laid to rest April 19 at Happy Valley Memorial Park…and no doubt, he greeted everyone in Heaven with a smile.

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