Theodore Joseph Perry (Teddy) passed away at home, surrounded by his loving family on February 9th, 2017. He is survived by his daughters Nancy Perry and Kim (Jimmy) Williams; his grandchildren, Sean (Eileen) McGroary, Corianne (Dennis) Parker, and Erin McGroary Williams; great grandchildren, Ryan Williams and Morgen McGroary: and his youngest sibling, Eleanor Schlicht.
Teddy was born on January 20, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. He was one of ten children, born to Clarence and Nora Perry. Teddy had seven brothers and two sisters and was raised in Queens Village, New York. His father died when he was 12 years old and he and his brothers worked to provide for the family from a very early age. One of his first jobs was as a caddy. He was paid $1.00 to carry a golf bag for 18 holes; $1.25 if he carried two. He once caddied in a foursome with Babe Ruth and Johnny Weissmuller and was too awe struck to ask for an autograph.
Teddy was drafted into the Army before the start of WWII and served during the war with four of his brothers, all of which came home. During one of his leaves, he met the love of his life and future wife, Dorothea (Mickey) Hodson. He was introduced to her at a bowling alley by the owner who informed him that there was a girl bowling there that night who was a bigger Brooklyn Dodger fan than Teddy was. Teddy knew Mickey for 6 days before he asked her to marry him. Both intense sports fans, they spent their honeymoon at a Giants football game. Their almost 65 year marriage was filled with love, laughter, and life until her death in 2010.
Teddy served four years in the Army from 1941-1945 in the Ninth Army 39th Infantry Division, whose motto was “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere - Bar Nothing” - represented by the logo AAA-0. Teddy first served in Panama with an anti air craft unit charged with guarding the Panama Canal. The canal was critical to the Allies success because the majority of the US Navy had been destroyed at Pearl Harbor and the canal was vital to get ships to the Pacific. During the Battle of the Bulge, Teddy was sent to the European Theatre of Operations. He served in Belgium, France, and then Germany - where his unit was the first to cross the Remagen Bridge during the Battle of Remagen. For his bravery, Teddy was awarded the Bronze Star - just one of many service awards.
After his service, Teddy and Mickey moved to Levittown, Long Island, where they raised their two daughters, Nancy and Kim. Teddy worked for the Manhattan And Bronx Service Transit Operating Authority as a superintendent of mechanics for the NYC buses for 33 years before retiring in 1972 and moving to Palm Coast, Florida. As a retiree, Teddy joined the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Department, played golf, and worked as a security guard in order to put his daughter Kim in Private School.
Teddy's daughter, Nancy - still in New York - gave Teddy and Mickey their three grandchildren, Sean, Cori, and Erin. Sean and his wife Eileen have a daughter, Morgen and Erin has a son Ryan.
In 1994, Teddy and Mickey’s daughter, Kim, was hired by the Carolina Opry as a featured performer. Kim’s husband, Jimmy Williams was soon after hired and eventually became the theater manager. Teddy and Mickey moved to Myrtle Beach, SC in 1999 to reside with Kim and Jimmy.
After retiring from the Opry in 2013, Kim and Jimmy focused on Teddy’s wish to travel. One of their first trips was to Washington DC, where Teddy was honored by Senator Lindsey Graham with a private tour of the House and Senate and presented with a flag that had flown over the Capitol in his name in honor of his service in WWII. He took his first plane ride at the age of 92 to visit the Colorado Rockies and realized his lifelong dream of seeing the Grand Canyon at 94 - by helicopter. He was still traveling with Kim and Jimmy and enjoyed trips to Williamsburg, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Maine, Cooperstown, Gettysburg, Monticello, Mount Vernon, and Appomattox until he turned 96 and began to slow down. He continued to work out at the wellness center near his home until March of 2016, when he began experiencing the initial signs of congestive heart failure.
Teddy triumphed over a 4 way Heart Bypass Operation, Colon Cancer, Type II Diabetes, T-cell leukemia, and Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. He battled off Congestive Heart Failure and Stage 4 Renal Failure for over two years. His love of life, family, friends, animals, food, music, baseball, sports, and Country - although not necessarily in that order - made him a giant of an individual whose humbleness, kindness and gentleness were unsurpassed. He believed the sun rose and set on the love of his life, Mickey and his two daughters, Nancy and Kim and their families. Teddy believed in God the Creator and His son, Jesus Christ. He will be missed by everyone whose life he touched.
A Memorial Service will be held at McMillan-Small Funeral Home at 2pm on Saturday, February 18th. The family will receive friends from 1-2 pm preceding the service at the funeral home.
Teddy and his wife, Mickey, will be interred at Arlington Natural Cemetery later this year.
Memorials may be made to: