Charles A. Perry, Jr., age 75, passed away on January 6, 2020, surrounded by his family, after a long battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Cappy, as he was fondly known, was born on August 21, 1944, to the late Charles and Evelyn (Cowles) Perry, in Farmington, CT.
Cappy spent most of his youth in Wrentham, MA, where he would go on to become a Police Officer in 1965. He graduated with Honors from the New England Institute of Anatomy, Boston, MA, in 1967. In October 1967, he entered on duty with the United States Army, serving a tour in Vietnam where he worked as a mortuary identification specialist. After returning from Vietnam, he continued his career as a Police Officer, earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University in 1973 and a Master of Education in Criminal Justice and Human Services from Boston University in 1981.
On August 28, 1976, he married his loving wife, Janice Marcelino. They had two children, Jeffrey and Lisa, and the family of four moved to Harvard, MA, in 1984, when Cappy became Chief of Police.
After retiring from law enforcement in 1992, he returned to his passion of helping others in their time of need by working full-time as a funeral director. He knew it was a tough time for the family, and he wanted to make it a little easier for them.
Cappy is survived by brother Eddie, sister Christine, wife Janice, children Jeffrey and Lisa, daughter-in-law Courtney, and grandson Cooper, as well as eight nieces and nephews. Cappy will be remembered as an amazing person who always lent a helping hand and a smile.
A special thank you to the incredible staff at Crestwood Center nursing home in Milford, NH.
The family kindly requests that memories of Cappy be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
PERRY - Charles A. Jr. "Cappy", January 6, 2020. Harvard Chief of Police, Vietnam Veteran, longtime area funeral director and gentleman farmer. Visiting hours in the McGaffigan Family Funeral Home, 37 Main St. (Rte. 113) PEPPERELL, MA on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 3 to 7 PM. Relatives and friends respectfully invited. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 130 South St. Wrentham, MA on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 11 AM. Fr. Peter Connelly, OSB officiating. Kindly meet at church. Interment with United States Army Military Honors will follow in Wrentham Center Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to Mount Saint Mary's Abbey, 300 Arnold St. Wrentham, MA 02093 or to Crestwood Center Resident Council Fund Attn: Activities Department, 40 Crosby St. Milford, NH 03055.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” Quite the legacy, Cap!
Celebrating the life of Charles A. Perry Jr.
Born on August 21, 1944, Charles A. Perry, Jr., know fondly as Cap or Cappy, was the first child of proud parents Charles and Evelyn (Cowles) Perry. Charles was an Air Force cook, and Evelyn an artist and occupational therapist. Cappy was born in Farmington, Connecticut, while Charles Sr. was stationed in Tinian. Evelyn took Cappy on the plane to the base at Wendover, Utah, where they were together as a family, and baby Cappy had to sleep in a drawer as a makeshift crib. One of the only babies on base, everyone doted on him!
Cappy was the oldest of three children. He spent most of his childhood in Wrentham, Massachusetts. He loved to fish, excelled in football and basketball at King Philip Regional high school, earned the king Phillip cup, enjoyed riding his horse, Mabel, and enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing. He even worked at the Regional pharmacy, Janice’s Dad’s pharmacy. He worked many jobs in his early days, including at a chicken house at the state school, working for Mr. Farrar, and harvesting gladiolus. He was a good family man, and was always close with his brother, Ed, and looked out for his sister, Christine. The extended Perry family was close too, and many a great time was had at Aunt Lucy’s house! Cappy’s family was patriotic, and they always marched in the Memorial Day parades in Wrentham. He enjoyed fishing trips to Alaska and hunting with his brother & friends. He enjoyed his many cards from Christine, and the quilt she made him was always on his bed in his last years.
He went to embalming school in Boston, Massachusetts, and was later deployed by the Army to Vietnam for service. He completed his service proudly, “2 years, 9 months, & 21 days” to be exact. He saw things that are unimaginable to us, but he did so as a true patriot, and as a proud American. After returning home, he purchased a ’69 Plymouth Fury convertible; he’d earned it. He never discussed his service until the later years of his life, and in those last few years, he reconnected with a few great friends from Vietnam. He attended yearly 509th group reunions in memory of his father’s Air Force service, and even got to see the original Enola Gay.
He knew Janice from their hometown of Wrentham, Massachusetts. Their families knew each other well. Cappy and Janice married on August 28, 1976, and their first child, Jeffrey Charles Perry, was born in October of 1979. Cappy was thrilled to be a Dad! In December of 1981, their second child, Lisa, was born. They lived in Wrentham on Thurston Street for the first few years. He loved bringing the kids to Disney World and Storyland and was not afraid to belt out “Zip-a-dee-doo-daa” on rides in the car, and admittedly loved “it’s a small world.”
In 1965 he started out as an Auxiliary Police Officer in Wrentham, Massachusetts. He worked his way up the ranks and later obtained the Chief’s position in Harvard, Massachusetts. The family moved to Harvard in 1984. He was best known as a fair officer, someone who lead by example, and treated everyone with respect. Cappy became very friendly with many in the town of Harvard and made many wonderful friends over the years. It was a highlight for Jeff and Lisa to visit the police station to say hello, get some candy, and draw pictures for the officers. Chief fingerprinted in town for the kids, drove the police car in parades, spoke at school safety events and assemblies, participated in the dunk tank at numerous fairs, etc. He remained chief until his retirement in 1992. Cappy’s mother enjoyed collecting stories and police news from the Harvard Post to see what the Chief was up to!
Cappy loved being a volunteer EMT. He enjoyed helping others and was happy to help at any hour of the day or night. He also enjoyed teaching CPR. He was an excellent instructor. He saved many lives with CPR over the years-both on and off duty. Though he helped save many lives, he never discussed this, nor looked for recognition. He did it out of the kindness of his heart. He was the person you’d want by your side in an emergency. Unless you were having a baby, then he’d happily just be the driver of the ambulance! He worked his way up & became assistant director of the Harvard Ambulance Squad, and he was very proud to have Jeff join him in this helping field. He enjoyed the summer EMT clam bake at the Durrant’s where he indulged in lobster and played a mean game of volleyball in his fluorescent orange converse sneakers. He participated in the town’s volunteer Santa program, and took great joy in this, though he was a skinny Santa who required extra padding! The favor was paid back when Santa visited Cappy for a Christmas visit in 2017.
In his retirement, he wanted to stay busy. He resumed working as a Funeral Director. He took great pride in helping others in their time of need, doing everything from removals to arrangements to flowers, etc. He truly went above and beyond, and once again, gave it his all. If you lost a loved one, Cappy was the one you’d want to be there to help you. He touched many lives through his work as a funeral director. He worked for many years alongside his great friend, Jack McGaffigan.
Cappy was kind, fair, and honest, some of the best qualities for a true friend. He was someone to confide in, who would never discuss your issues with someone else. He leant an ear whenever needed, had sound advice to give, and was always known to say, “just take it one step at a time.” He was trustworthy. He was loyal. He was selfless. He had a big, big heart. If you needed something, you could ALWAYS count on Cappy. He had friends everywhere!!!! Going to the dump or post office or the bank was an ordeal because everyone would want to stop and talk with him! He loved to talk on the phone! “Hello,” followed by an enthusiastic, “hey, how are ya?!” and ending with, “have a good one!”
Though he would never truly admit it, he loved mom’s horses! Horses were meant to be in his life, starting with Mabel and continuing when he started dating Janice. He was in for it! In Harvard, they installed all their post & beam fencing on their own. They built a nice barn. Cappy enjoyed making hay yearly; it was a big event. Fingers were always crossed that it didn’t rain while the hay was down. He loved his time on the tractor. He was always happy when he got that hay in the barn! He was kind to all animals, and even had a special place in his heart for our old cat, Bato Man. He was also very protective of the animals at 42 Old Mill Road and took great pleasure in scaring off the coyotes. In the later years, he made best friends with Pebbles & Jack.
Cappy enjoyed being a father, and he was the best there could be! Jeff and Lisa were lucky to have such an involved, fun, loving father. There were road trips, University of New Hampshire football games, sledding outings, fishing derbies, Poker camping, trips to Hudon’s restaurant at Hampton Beach, trips out to the ranch in Wyoming, indoor skydiving, etc. Cappy was very proud of Jeff for his scouting activities, achieving Eagle Scout, his success in basketball, and his current job. He was an enthusiastic spectator at all of Jeff’s basketball games! He and Jeff enjoyed many snowmobile trips together. He brought Lisa to her riding lessons and cheered her on at various riding competitions, soccer games, and liked to climb Mt. Washington with her. He was always there when they needed him. He provided them with confidence in themselves, and always had big smiles for them from the sidelines, and a congratulatory hug or high five at the end. He even came up with a family whistle just for them in case they got lost in a public place. He was humorous too, sometimes picking Lisa up from soccer practice in the hearse, possibly with Jack in the backseat ready to scare her! He prided himself on being the person who was there to bring them to and pick them up at the airport for almost every flight they ever took. And you know Cappy’s Golden rule: GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY! He gave them a love so true, so real, that it will last a lifetime. He was an uncle to six, great uncle to two. He loved being “Uncle Cappy,” and had fun with all his nieces & nephews. He was famous for his naps at family functions. He was proud to become a great-uncle when Sam was born, and they always had a special connection. He was proud to give a speech at Jeff and Courtney’s wedding, and he beamed with pride when he became Papa. The first time he met Cooper was a picture-perfect moment!!! Cappy loved children, and they loved him. He didn’t get much time to be a Papa, but he was a very proud one.
Cappy began his battle with dementia around his 70th birthday. It was a rapid progression, that totaled 5 years. Watching Cappy slowly fade away was very difficult for family and friends. He had a lot of support through his struggles. It was difficult to watch such an amazing man go through such a difficult battle with a cruel disease. Family and friends alike stepped up with love and helped, came to visit, showed support, etc. Janice’s sister, Mary Ellen, even moved from California to New Hampshire to help Janice keep Cappy comfortable in his own home. He insisted that the “lady in the trailer” was the best cook of all. In May of 2018, Lisa moved from Colorado to New Hampshire to help Janice take care of Cappy at home, with the goal of keeping him at home for as long as possible. He even had occasional Wrentham getaways to Ed and Maureen’s house where he always felt at home. Cappy enjoyed quiet moments on the horse farm watching Janice ride her horses (he even rode a horse for the last time in April of 2018), helping sweep the barn aisle, helping in the garden, enjoying visitors, and enjoying plenty of backyard beers and TONS of ice cream. In August of 2018, there was a nice 74th birthday party for Cappy, that will remain a wonderful memory for us all. On a sad day in November 2018, Cappy went to live in a nursing home. His time in the home was short, just over one year. He was friendly to everyone and was always a staff favorite. He enjoyed visits from close friends and family. He never stopped loving Janice. She loved him, brought him joy, brought him homemade tapioca pudding, and fed him as much ice cream as he could eat! Janice and Cappy showed us what true love is, through sickness and in health. When memories fade, there are smiles, hugs, kisses, ice cream, and tapioca pudding. If there aren’t words, hold hands, take a walk, smile, sit together.
Love is limitless. Cappy showed us this. He loved his friends and family with his whole heart, right up until the very end. He was a strong, hardworking man, who was a true hero. He led by example and leaves impossible shoes to fill. He encouraged all of us to step up, help someone in need, and do the right thing. Say hi to a stranger, take time to hold the door for others, thank a police officer.
Please choose to remember the good times we all shared with Cappy. Cheers to him when you crack open a nice cold beer, think of him when you’re watching a Patriots game, smile when you hear a song you know he liked, think of him when you next enjoy some ice cream, or when you’re sitting around a good campfire. Remember the funny things he said, and his bright eyes and expressive smile. Remember the last hug he gave you, the last words of encouragement he gave you. Remember how he touched your life.
Now it’s his turn to “ride off into the sunset.”
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