Earl Austin Perry, age 99, formerly of Joplin, passed away on September 2, 2019, in Reno, Nevada.
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Earl was born in West Plains, MO, the son of the late Willis Austin Perry and Nellie Ida (Lathrop) Perry. He attended Coats School in Decatur, AR, and Eugene Fields School in Pittsburg, KS. In 1938 he graduated from Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg, KS. He then graduated with an AB from Pittsburg State Teachers College now known as Pittsburg State University. He received his BD & MA from Perkins Theological Seminary at SMU, in Dallas, TX. He married Wilma Magnolia Clementine Powers on January 1, 1943 at the First Methodist Church in Pittsburg, KS. Together they were given four children.
He became an ordained Methodist Minister in 1944. He was a member of First United Methodist Church, Joplin, MO and First Community Church in Joplin, and First United Methodist Church in Reno, NV. From 1944 – 1985 he served the United Methodist Kansas East Conference, pastoring many Churches in Kansas. Churches served were: Garland Methodist Church, Arcadia, KS; Altamont Methodist Church, Altamont, KS; Sedan Methodist Church, Sedan, KS; Bonner Springs Methodist Church, Bonner Springs, KS (served twice); Queens Garden Methodist Church, Kansas City, KS; Central United Methodist Church, Kansas City, KS; Oakland United Methodist Church, Topeka, KS; Neodesha United Methodist Church, Neodesha, KS; Rossville United Methodist Church (Interim Pastor); and Berryton United Methodist Church (Interim Pastor). He served three years as a professor at Union Theological Seminary in Mexico City, Mexico. He worked with youth mission work camps in rural Mexico for ten years. He then taught history at Warrenton High School in Warrenton, MO. He conducted religious services and Bible studies at Aldersgate Village and at Spring River Christian Village in Joplin, MO. Throughout his career he has written articles for the Kansas East Conference Journals, and the Upper Room, Kansas City Star Supplement, Bonner Springs Chieftan, and the Neodesha paper. His published books include: These First Called Him Master, Puppets Go To Church (co-authored with wife Wilma P. Perry), The Magdala Connection, play and musical (with music and lyrics by son and daughter-in-law, David and Jean Perry). Following retirement, he volunteered for thirty years at Freeman Hospital in Joplin.
Earl served on various UMC Boards and Committees. He served as Trustee for the Kansas East Conference, Bethany Hospital in Kansas City, Ks, Friendly Acres Retirement Home, and Older Adult Resource Center. He was a member of Rotary International and served as president of North Topeka Kiwanis Club 1981-1982. He was listed in the Who’s Who in Religion, Who’s Who in the Methodist Church, Who’s Who in Methodism, and the Pastoral Record Book.
Earl was preceded in death by a daughter, Coranell Anne Perry; a son, Jonathan Earl Perry; and a grandson, Thomas Frank Jones, V.
He is survived by his loving wife of seventy-six years, Wilma Perry, of Reno, NV; son, David Austin Perry and wife Jeanne Lee, of Oceanside, CA; a daughter, Jeanne Perry-Jones and husband Alan Bernhard, of Mt. Charleston, NV; two grandchildren, Michael Austin Perry and wife Rebecca Elizabeth, and Carin Jenai Perry Leffler and husband Kevin Frederick; five great-grandchildren, Alexis Elizabeth Perry, Catherine Anne Perry, Theodore Austin Perry, William Jon Leffler, and Charlie Thomas Leffler; brother, Clarence Perry, of Reno, NV; and a sister Martha Lobmeyer, of Lakewood, CO.