Doris Perry, 81, who was a second-grade teacher in the Toledo Public Schools system for more than 30 years, died Saturday in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.
She had a massive stroke on May 5, daughter Roxane Henderson said.
Mrs. Perry began her teaching career in 1954 at Gunckel Elementary School and later moved to Warren, eventually retiring in 1991 from McKinley, Mrs. Henderson said.
“She was an excellent teacher, and she cared about her students. She remembered her students, and she kept up with them as they went through life. She always encouraged them to be the best they could be and to work to their abilities,” said her longtime friend Joan Harris, who was also a teacher.
A native of Anderson, S.C., Mrs. Perry was born Jan. 9, 1933, to Augustus and Prudence Thompson. Her father was a farmer and a deacon at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and her mother was a homemaker.
She received a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. She later received a master’s degree in education from the University of Toledo after relocating with her late husband, Leo Perry.
The two met in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Perry, a Toledo native, moved to there to find a teaching position, said his son, Victor Perry. African-Americans could not find teaching jobs in Toledo at that time, her son said. He was teaching at Booker T. Washington High School and often visited the Benedict College campus. He saw her walking across campus one day and acted as if he were lost, her son said.
“He said, ‘young lady I need some information’ and she said, ‘Yes, I’ll be glad to help you. What information would that be’ and he said, ‘Well, let’s start with your name,’ ” Victor Perry said.
The late Mr. Perry spent 30 years working at TPS. He taught at Gunckel, Robinson, and Sherman schools, was an assistant principal at Riverside, and a principal at Martin Luther King, Jr., and Martin schools.
“Our family knew Leo when they came to Toledo. [His wife] didn’t know anyone, and he introduced me to her, and we became good friends,” said Carenthia Higgs.
“She loved to play cards, and she always tried to keep up with current events. She was very interested in politics. She was an Obama fan all the way,” Mrs. Higgs said.
Mrs. Perry joined Third Baptist Church shortly after moving to Toledo. She served in several organizations in the church including the 20th Century Club and the board of Christian education, Mrs. Higgs said.
She was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for more than 50 years and a member of Phi Delta Kappa.
She is survived by her sister, Harriet Harris; son, Victor Perry; daughters, Judy Sims and Roxane Henderson; four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Wake services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Braden United Methodist Church followed by the funeral at noon at the church.
Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6091.
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