Gayle McClain Perry

Gayle McClain Perry, 76, of Ridgefield, Connecticut wife of Bob G. Perry, died peacefully on July 2. Bob’s wonderful wife of almost 56 years, the only child of Otis and Frankie McClain, was born on May 22, 1936 in Plainview, Texas.

Bob and Gayle met at Plainview High School. Gayle received an Associate Degree in Marketing from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas in 1956. She married Bob in Plainview on September 4, 1956. Over the next 20 years she lived in Victoria, Texas, Charleston, West Virginia, and Luling, Louisiana before settling in Ridgefield in 1976. During a five-year residence in Toronto in the ‘80’s, Gayle volunteered in the surgical waiting room of Toronto General Hospital.

Gayle had a very strong faith, and was an active member of the United Methodist Church. She was Sunday School Superintendent in the Luling United Methodist Church. After moving to Ridgefield in 1976, she served as Nursery School Coordinator at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. She remained active in church activities and was a Stephen Minister during the final year of her life.

Gayle was a long-time member of the League of Women Voters. In Ridgefield, she served on the Board for many years as the Public Relations Chair and Historian, acted as a mentor to new members, and managed mock elections at Ridgefield High. Gayle was custodian of the 100-year-old banner carried by the Equal Franchise League in Ridgefield campaigning for women’s right to vote.

Gayle enjoyed being an active member of her community.  She received her 25-year membership pin in 2011 honoring her for service in the Ridgefield Women’s Club. She served as Chair of the Public Issues Committee and supported numerous activities over the years including “Are You OK” and blood drives. Gayle was a talented photographer and a member of the Shutterbugs Camera Club. The Women’s Club offered an opportunity to enter photo contests, where she won many blue ribbons. One photograph was displayed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.  

Music was a big part of Gayle’s life. She played clarinet and piano and taught piano lessons for years. Her music appreciation was shared with her family and friends. Whether she was playing her baby grand piano, listening to others play or attending countless concerts around town, you could count on her tapping her toes.  During Gayle’s final days, she was surrounded by music that supported her spirit. 

Gayle was optimistic and loved life. She never missed an opportunity to help, encourage, or share a laugh with one and all. Activities included Founders Hall history classes, Ridgefield Library Murder by the Book Club, the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, and CHIRP concerts. Gayle’s smiling face was all around town. 

In addition to Bob, Gayle is survived by her children, Debbie Perry of Danbury, David Perry and his partner, Jorge Cortez, of Berkeley, California, Bruce Perry and his wife Elizabeth Knapp Perry of Ridgefield, Bob’s brother Bruce Perry of Houston, Texas, and countless kind and thoughtful friends.

Memorial services and a celebration of Gayle’s life will take place at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church at 11 AM on Saturday, July 14th.

A reception will follow the service. Donations may be made in her memory to Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 207 Main Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877.

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Jowdy Kane and Kane Funeral Homes