Willa Mae Dean Perry, November 25, 1926 - November 30, 2019. Heaven rejoiced with the arrival of Willa Mae Dean Perry. Willa, more often known as "Nan", was a good and faithful servant of the Lord. Willa, 93, a native of both West Virginia and California, and a resident of Greenwell Springs, passed peacefully in her home on November 30, 2019 at 1:18 pm. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 67 years, George Holley Perry; parents, Ella & Ken Banks and Delbert Dean; sisters, Mary "Toots" Mowery, Annabelle Waltz; grandchildren, Ricki Lyn Perry, Dylan Perry, Lacey Perry; great-grandchild, Garrett Atkins. Willa married George on October 5, 1945, just 6 weeks after catching his eye in a bowling alley in California. Willa enjoyed league bowling at Circle Bowl in Baton Rouge during the early years of their marriage and even had her picture on the wall for her impressive scores. She quickly became LSU's biggest fan and recalled stories of the "glory days" of "dressing to a tee" in Death Valley for Saturday night football. Willa enjoyed watching her Tigers play since 1946 and was very proud of their recent victory over Alabama. She made friends everywhere she went, including during her time working with dear friends at Kelly's Meat Market and Kwik Shop. Willa served as den mother for Boy Scout troop 160 to 13 Boy Scouts. Her scouts were featured on the Buckskin Bill Show 6-7 times. Willa recalled that as the "good ole days." During those days she and George did their share of jitterbugging and even won some contests. For over 20 years she enjoyed volunteering her time at Starkey Academy, taking up money at the basketball games and book fairs, helping with luncheons, and serving as permanent senior class room mother. She was famous for her homemade cakes, candies and jellies. Willa most enjoyed spending Saturdays with her girls (4 generations) for lunch, hours of shopping, and ice cream on the way home. Her favorite pastime was spoiling her grandkids and great-grandkids, and she did it so well. She loved attending their activities and sneaking a week's worth of chocolates in their pockets before she sent them home. Willa was a faithful member of Comite Baptist Church for nearly 30 years. She dearly loved her pastor of 17 years, Bro. Dale Phillips, and was a devout prayer warrior. She was a whiz at crossword puzzles, and was known for her way with words and for the touching greeting cards she wrote. She is survived by her sister, Barbara Mayer and step-sister, Linda Dowell of California; step-brother Don Banks (wife Connie) of Iowa; children, Steve Perry (wife Dianne) of Beaverton, Oregon, Rick Perry (wife Kathy) of Northport, Alabama, Becky Young of Baton Rouge, Georgiana "Gigi" Starns (husband Gary) of Greenwell Springs, Doug Atkins (wife Leah) of Zachary; grandchildren, Dal Perry (wife Rachel), Danielle Olsen (husband Myk), Holly Strickland (husband Eric), Heath Starns, Julia Stone (husband Justin); great-grandchildren, Jordan Atkins (wife Cady), Keely Ana Strickland, Kylah Strickland, Grady Starns; numerous other grandchildren and great-grandchildren; long-time neighbors, Pat & Graham Reeves, Stanley Browning; treasured friends, "Roodie" Anne, Charlene. Special thinks to her loving caregivers and friends, Strawberri, Mae & Keesha. Also, thank you to Hospice of Baton Rouge for the precious care provided, especially Julie, Todd and Karen. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to a cause dear to her heart, The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, 10600 S Choctaw Dr., BR, LA 70815, in the name of Willa Perry. "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20. Even in her last days, Willa was selfless and giving. Family and Friends are invited to attend the visitation which will be held at Greenoaks Funeral Home on Tuesday from 5-8pm. Visitation will resume Wednesday at 9am until funeral service at 10am. Burial will follow in Greenoaks Memorial Park. Pallbearers are Gary Starns, Doug Atkins, Dal Perry, Eric Strickland, Heath Starns, Jordan Atkins and Grady Starns.
Published in The Advocate from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4, 2019.