Carter Reginald Perry, a longtime resident of Anytown, Calif., and champion of its youth, died March 13, 2023 at age 77.
Perry, or “Papa Perry,” as he was known to the hundreds of at-risk teens he mentored over the years, dedicated his entire life to helping others. His wife, Gwendolyn, shared his sense of empathy and compassion, and they were often seen volunteering together. Over the years, they fostered more than 50 teenagers, and were staunch advocates for family reunification when possible, and unfettered love and support when impossible.
Even during his final illness, due to side effects from prostate cancer, he made it down to the City Plaza to give out free hugs to attendees of the annual Anytown LGBTQ+ Pride event that he and Gwen helped found in 2008.
Perry attended University of California at Irvine (Zot! Zot!) and capped off a philosophy degree with a Masters in Business Administration from University of Southern California.
He worked in marketing as well as finance, and taught courses in personal finance at a very low rate via the Anytown Recreation District. Perry was known to waive course fees for low-income attendees, and he offered one-on-one help to anyone who needed it. During tax season, he volunteered at part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to staff the table at the Anytown Library and assist people who needed help filling out their forms.
Perry was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Gwen, in 2020. While they had no biological children, there are dozens of now-adult kids who call them Dad and Mom.
A tireless mentor, Perry volunteered and served on the boards of: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Anytown, Anytown Boys & Girls Club, and Fifth Street Homeless Youth Drop-In Center. He and Gwen were also among the founders of the Anytown LGBTQ+ Pride event, held each June on the City Plaza.
No formal services will be held, but those who remember Papa Perry fondly are asked to share their memories at a special ceremony when his bequest to the Boys & Girls Club is presented later this spring. Donations in his memory can be made to the Gwendolyn A. Perry Memorial Fund, or to the Trevor Project.
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