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Obituary: Joseph Paul Perry

Joseph Paul Perry passed away the evening of July 28, 2023, at the age of 92 years. Joe was born on Oct. 5, 1930, in Evansville, Ind. to Emma (Meisler) and Isaac Perry. Joe had two younger siblings, sister, Joyce and brother, Emil. He did not remember much about his biological father, but recognized Pearl Hodges, Emma's later husband, as his father.

Joe joined the Air Force at an early age and was stationed in Hawaii before being transferred to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont. There, he met the love of his life, Betty Jane Armstrong, at a dance. It wasn't long before they married on Nov. 25, 1949. Joe worked at the Anaconda Smelter and Betty worked at Montgomery Ward in Great Falls. After a couple of years, they moved to Betty's hometown of Brady, Mont. where they started their family and raised three children, Joe (Debby) Perry of Brady, Mont., Toni (Richard) Martin of Great Falls, Mont., and Jim (Carmen) Perry of Great Falls, Mont. While in Brady, Joe worked for the Equity Co-op, retiring as manager of the elevator, and Betty worked in Conrad at Pondera Drug and later at the Pondera County Clerk and Recorder's office.

Joe and Betty bought some property outside of Lincoln, Mont. in the early 1960s, and the family spent many weekends there snowmobiling, sledding, fishing, hunting, etc. Joe built a small cabin, then later a larger "cabin," which became their permanent home in the late 1980s. Joe was a skilled carpenter and with the help of family and friends, built a fine home of which they were so proud. They loved living in Lincoln and made many dear friends. Betty enjoyed her flower gardens, feeding the birds and creating many art and craft projects. Joe volunteered countless hours at the Ponderosa Snow Warriors Snowmobile club (the groomer shed is named in Joe's honor) and the Lincoln Senior Center. During their years in Lincoln, they also traveled to many different states, staying in some beautiful timeshare locations. Joe and Betty were blessed with seven grandchildren, Olivia (Robert) Martin, Valerie (Joe) Meier, Laura (Jared) Buus, Kelsey (Taylor) Martin, Paul Martin, Ryan (Jessie) Perry, and Brianna (Jesse) Johnson. Many of their most favorite times in Lincoln were spent with the grandchildren fishing, floating the creek, four-wheeling, etc. They are also survived by nine great-grandchildren, who brought much joy to their lives these past few years.

Due to health reasons, they were forced to sell their beloved home in Lincoln in 2008 and move to Great Falls where they initially bought a condominium, then later moving to an assisted living facility in 2014. Joe and Betty celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2019 surrounded by many family members. After Betty passed away in 2020, Joe lived for a time at his daughter's home where he enjoyed the company of his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Joe spent his last few months living at Azalea House in Great Falls, which he enjoyed.

Joe was a good man. He loved to tease and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was also generous and enjoyed helping others when they were in need.

Joe is survived by his three children and their spouses; his seven grandchildren and their spouses; and nine great-grandchildren. He will be remembered and missed by all. Rest in Peace, Dad!

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