April 30, 1928 - February 18, 2017
April 30, 1928 - February 18, 2017
Jeweline (Judy) Melton Perry was born in Rutherford County on April 30, 1928 and was the fourth of 10 children born to Hatcher Melton and Maude Piercy Melton. Although her childhood was shadowed by the Great Depression, she would always say, “ We were poor, but we did not know we were poor, because everyone we knew was just like us.” With a father who was a farmer/textile worker and a mother who was an exemplary homemaker, there was always good food on the table. And, with a mother and 2 aunts who were excellent seamstresses, she and her brothers and sisters always had nice clothes. Her growing up was filled with playing outdoors, chores in the house and on the farm, helping with the younger children, family devotions and church activities, friends, and school.
Her love of words started before she ever attended school, and she learned to read by sharing the newspaper comic strips on the front porch with her daddy. Similarly, her love of music was fostered at the knee of her great-grandfather as they sang hymns on his front porch.
Judy was a life-long learner and loved school. She graduated from Tri-High in Henrietta, NC, where she excelled academically, was involved in Chorus and was a writer for the school paper staff, and played varsity basketball. After graduation, she began nurse’s training in Roanoke Rapids, NC, and completed 2 years of a 3-year program. She would have finished, except for meeting a certain, handsome World War II vet who just happened to be the taxi driver, E.V. Perry, that showed up to take her and her friends to the public pool! They were married on June 6, 1947 and, back then, nursing students were not allowed to be married. So, she became a reporter for the local newspaper. Much later in life, Judy would earn an Associate in Arts from Isothermal Community College and would be the recipient of the English Award in 1977. This was given for excellence in literature and writing.
After the birth of a daughter in 1949, Judy and E.V. moved back to her family home and began their Rutherford County life together that would last until his death in 2004. Two sons would be added to their family, one in 1950 and one (surprise!) in 1963. Here, Judy began a 39-year career in finance at the Spindale Savings & Loan where she became a loan officer. She helped many of the residents of Spindale and Rutherford County to secure homes for their families. After her retirement, Judy served at ICC for 10 years as an assistant in the Accounting Lab. In all her career endeavors, she was known for business acumen, professionalism, dedication, and her desire to help others.
Having been taught about Jesus Christ by her parents and by her participation in activities at Caroleen Baptist Church, Judy became a Christian at an early age. When they returned to Rutherford County, she and E.V. became members at Spencer Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School for almost 50 years, sang in the choir, and served on many committees and as a Deacon. In John 21:15-18, Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Him. Peter professed how he loved Jesus 3 times, and, each time, Jesus basically answered that, if Peter loved Him, he must “feed my sheep.” Judy took this directive to heart both spiritually and literally. Beyond teaching, mentoring, and singing, her favorite way to minister to others was via her well-known and celebrated culinary skills. Her gifts of love and comfort took the form of homemade pimiento cheese, pound cakes (vanilla and chocolate), chicken salad, Spanish rice, yeast rolls, and chocolate pies!
As a last act of teaching and service, Judy desired that her body be donated to Duke University Medical Center to be used to further the knowledge of the body and disease for future medical professionals. After the studies are completed, her ashes will be placed with Vance’s in the Duke Forest.
Judy was pre-deceased by her parents; her husband, E.V.; 2 sisters - Eris Yelton and Edith Hosler; and a brother, Max Melton. On May 2, 1999, she suffered the sudden and unexpected loss of her beloved son, Vance M. Perry.
She is survived by a daughter, Cindy Morris (Danny); a son, Bill Perry (Heather); and a daughter-in-law, Jennifer Perry Spearman; 6 grand children - Forrest Marshall, Josh Perry (Corrie), Aaron Perry (Haley), Hannah Perry, John Michael Perry, and Mary Grace Perry; 2 step-grandchildren, Dana M. Haire (Tom) and Erica Bohnsack (Bill); 4 great-grandchildren - Isla Perry, Evie Perry, Owen Perry, and Luke Perry; and 2 step-great grandchildren - Luke Bohnsack and James Bohnsack. Also surviving are her siblings, Selma Hamrick, Grace Black, Margaret Tunnell, Anne Jones, and Keith Melton (Ann). She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at Spencer Baptist Church with visitation to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Spencer Baptist Scholarship Fund or the Building Fund 187 North Oak Street, Spindale, NC 28160
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