Mary Jean Perry
March 1, 2015
Mary Jean King Perry passed away peacefully, surrounded by family the evening of February 20, 2015 at The Doak Walker House. Mary Jean was born June 27, 1926 in Tooele, Utah. Her parents moved home to Steamboat Springs when she was a girl. She was a descendant of one of the Pioneer Families of Routt County. King Mountain in Egeria Park was named after her great-grandfather. Mary Jean graduated from Steamboat Springs High School, attending DU before returning to Routt County where she met and married a local rancher, Junior Franklin Perry. They had two sons – Chuck and Bill. She was the family matriarch and an incredible example of selfless community service to everyone she came into contact with. Mary Jean was loved by many. Below is a description of the community service roles and contributions she made to Routt County and Colorado, this place she so loved.
Mary Jean was a rancher and librarian. She began teaching in 1944 at Toponas. She taught at McCoy, then as a substitute teacher at Yampa. She served on the Soroco School Board from about 1968 to 1975. Mary Jean, along with others, was instrumental in the campaign to enlarge the Colorado Mountain College district.
She was a member of the Ladies Aid in Yampa and The Toponas Home Demonstration Club. This club was very active, donating to the construction of the first hospital in Steamboat and supporting many charitable causes in Routt County. She and Junior took in two brothers for a year in 1972 when their father passed away. As hosts for the "Experiment in International Living" program, the family enjoyed time with students who came to experience life on a ranch from Japan, Denmark, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, Nigeria and France.
Mary Jean served on the Yampa Valley Electric Association Board of Directors from about 1976 until 2006. She held the positions of Secretary and President, and was the Representative of YVEA to the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Mary Jean received the Leckenby Award in 2008. Jim Stanko said, "Her greatest contribution might have been her determined work on behalf of rural electrification, an effort that spanned three decades".
With a rural library grant she started the Toponas Public Library in 1978, which later became part of the South Routt Library District. As a member of The Women's Union at the Yampa Bible Church, she worked on charitable projects and often donated beef from the ranch for meals. She was a Stonecroft Missions Bible Study Leader for over 20 years. Other service organizations include: South Routt Cemetery District, Routt County Farm Bureau, South Routt Historical Society, South Routt Medical Advisory Board, South Routt Library Board, and librarian of Yampa Public Library. She was a past Matron of Eastern Star. In 2011, Mary Jean was honored to be recognized as Grand Marshall of the 4th of July parade in Yampa.
As an election judge at Toponas for over 40 years, and a lifelong Republican, she had fond memories of campaigning for President Ronald Reagan. As a member of the BLM Advisory Board, she considered the Visintainer/King Mountain Land Exchange her most noteworthy accomplishment. Mary Jean was a long-time member of The Toponas Community Club (TCC) serving as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, and President twice. The TCC held a special place in her heart. Mary Jean donated historical family items to the Tread of Pioneers Museum when her parents and uncle passed away.
A private interment was held at Yampa Cemetery February 28. Passing before her were her parents and husband, Junior Perry. Mary Jean is survived by her sister, Joy Vogel of Northglenn, CO; brother, Bill King of Cheyenne, WY; son, Chuck Perry and his wife Dorothy of Toponas, CO; son Bill Perry and his wife Jeanne of Greeley, CO; 4 granddaughters and 7 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11AM, Saturday, March 7, 2015, at The Yampa Bible Church, with her nephew, Rev. Robert Vogel, officiating. The family invites you to join them for a fellowship reception at The Yampa Elementary School immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mary Jean's memory to one of the following: South Routt Library District's Summer Reading Program, Historic Routt County, or the Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.yampavalleyfh.com.
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