It is with great sadness that we announce that James Hubert Perry, age 77, son, brother, husband, father, uncle, friend and most importantly, a great human being, has passed away peacefully on January 23, 2019, at his residence in Coronado, California, after living a full life dedicated to making the world a better place.
James (“Jim”) was born on July 26, 1941, and was raised in Ceredo – Kenova, West Virginia by his loving parents, Albert Jenkins Perry and Thelma Tipton. Jim was the youngest of seven children (Albert, David, Juanita, Richard, Barb, and Mabel) and loved his brothers and sisters with all of his heart. Family, church and community were the foundations of Jim’s life, and his love for his family, God and his home town would always bring Jim back down those country roads to “Almost Heaven” West Virginia.In his early years, Jim spent a lot of time with his family, going to school, playing football, and working at Dreamland pool as a lifeguard. Jim would always reminisce and talk about fun times playing football with his brother, Richard, and driving his 1957 Chevy…. which barely made it over the train tracks. His early years growing up with family and friends in Ceredo-Kenova/Huntington had a profound impact on Jim. He learned to appreciate the small-town values of putting people first, the importance of hard work, grit, dedication, discipline, and giving back to your community. No matter where Jim traveled on the planet……… He carried these early memories and small-town values with him and tried to make the world a better place.
Football was a passion of Jim’s and his success as a tight end for the CK Wonders provided him with an opportunity to attend Marshall University where he played football for the Thundering Herd. Jim studied engineering, and ultimately graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree. During this time, Jim met his college sweetheart and love of his life, Malinda Thompson. Jim and Malinda married later that year, and began a journey together that would lead to a life full of family and love.
During the sixties and seventies, Jim and Malinda moved often throughout the Midwest and Atlantic seaboard as Jim quickly rose up the ranks of Owens-Illinois and DuPont. Jim understood and appreciated the importance of education and hard work, and the awards and accolades that would follow were a testament to these admirable traits.
Jim’s greatest pleasure in life was his family which included five sons, Don, Jimmy, Lenny, John and Richie. These five children were blessed to have a loving, dedicated father who showered them with love, attention, and guidance. Notwithstanding a very demanding schedule, Jim was active in their lives as father, friend, coach and mentor. There wasn’t any sacrifice that Jim would not make for his children, be it time, money or effort. His greatest memories were buying cool sports cars for his boys, even if it meant sacrificing his own dream of owning a Corvette. Jim always put his family first and his children were the center of his life. He encouraged them to pursue their dreams through work hard, and made certain that each one of them had the means to reach their goals and aspirations, no matter how challenging. “Work Hard/Play Hard” was the mantra that Jim so often repeated.
In 1979, Jim was offered a job opportunity to relocate overseas in order to open up manufacturing plant in Asia. Although hesitant to venture far from family, Jim and Malinda packed up the family and moved to Singapore. The family traveled extensively throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, India, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific during this period. Although almost every family trip started on a 747 Jumbo jet, the journey typically ended on a propjet landing on the mountaintop at the Tri-State Airport. No matter where Jim traveled, he always longed to return to his parents, family and church in his home town.
After a decade overseas, Jim returned to the United States. Faced with job opportunities in the Northeast and Midwest, Jim relocated to Lexington, Kentucky, in order to be close to his parents and family. During this time, his children graduated from school and began their own respective journeys in life. As an empty Nester, Jim was presented with the opportunity to travel and work in Mexico. Always ambitious, Jim took the opportunity to head overseas, and finished his career with Dupont after his assignment in Guadalajara.
Take Me Home, Country Roads was a song that continued to play in Jim’s head throughout his entire life, and upon his retirement, Jim returned once again to Kenova to spend time with his family, watch Marshall football and attend service at the First Baptist Church with his community. Jim loved his family, church, and community, and always tried to give back to those who had helped him along with his journey in life.
A dream of Jim’s was fulfilled when he had an opportunity to own and operate Dreamland Pool, where he had worked as a life lifeguard as a young man. There was no shortage of stories and memories about growing up at the pool in his beloved small town. Working at Dreamland as a young man and owning the pool at a later date was nothing more than his way of saying “thank you” to the community.
As typically happens, Mother Nature and Father Time began to play an increasing role in life, and Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and other debilitating ailments. Notwithstanding these health issues, Jim fought back and did his best to maintain an active lifestyle and role in his family’s lives, which included dancing and crooning along with Johnny Cash.
On January 23, 2019, Jim peacefully passed away, and has now returned to “Almost Heaven” West Virginia. But fear not, Jim will ultimately make his way all the way to heaven where he will rejoin all of his lost family and friends.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Malinda Thompson Perry, and his brother and sister, David O. Perry and Barb Morrone Perry. This gentle, loving, caring and wonderful man has left a mark etched on our hearts and will be missed by his surviving brothers and sisters, Albert J. Perry Jr, Juanita Staten, Richard Perry and Mabel Smith, five children, seventeen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, along with a host of loving in-laws, nieces and nephews, cousins and long-time friends from around the world.
Please join us for a celebration of Jim’s life. Visitation will be at 5:00 PM on Friday, February 1, 2019, at the First Baptist Church of Kenova at 1120 Poplar St., Kenova, WV 25530. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the church, followed by a burial service at Hillcrest Cemetery.
Instead of flowers, please perform a random act of kindness for a fellow human being in his name.
Special thanks to everyone at Coronado Retirement Village for taking care of Jim during his final years.
Jim will forever be remembered as a man who served the Lord and always put people first. There wasn’t a person in the world that Jim was not willing to help…… Family, friend or neighbor. Jim was always there for you, and was always willing to extend a helping hand. May he rest in peace after working so hard to make this world a better place.