Thomas “Melvin” Perry, age 89 of Aztec, passed away Thanksgiving evening surrounded by family. Melvin had been a resident at the BeeHive Alzheimer's Care Assisted Living Home in Farmington.
He was the third child of Moses Birdwell and Sarah Lola (Atha) Perry and was born in Otto (near Stanley), New Mexico on April 14, 1930. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by five siblings; brothers Hueston and Doyle, sister Fay, and an older and younger brother who both died in their infancy.
Melvin is survived by his wife of 69 years, Elinor Jane (Rice) Perry of Aztec; daughters Linda Walker (Jerry) of Aztec, Denisa Knutson (Jerry) of Bloomfield, and Marlene Trigg (Norm Imel) of Albuquerque.
He was a proud grandfather of eight; Debbie Foelker, Chris Walker, Kim Ketron of Aztec, Heath Amon of Bloomfield, David Liebel of Farmington, Anjee Hall of Bloomfield, Tommi Sly of Aztec, and Marissa Chavez of Salt Lake City. He also dearly loved 24 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Melvin’s family moved to Greer, New Mexico near Pie Town when he was three years old and lived there until moving to Aztec when he was 13 years old. He attended Aztec High School up until the 9th grade.
He married Elinor on September 16, 1950 in Gallup, New Mexico. Over the course of his life he worked as a mechanic, service station attendant, roughneck, mining ore truckdriver, but found his calling as a compressor mechanic/technician with Southern Union Gas Company – which later became Gas Company of New Mexico. He retired in 1987 after 32 years with the company.
Retirement didn’t mean doing nothing to Melvin. He and Elinor had been saved in 1969 at a James Robison Revival in Farmington, and both had become active members of First Baptist Church in Aztec. Following his retirement, he volunteered and served on the Buildings and Grounds Committee and his 15 years of service and handiwork are still evident on the church campus to this day. He was called to be a Deacon by the church in 1972 and was awarded Deacon-Emeritus status when his health began waning.
Melvin’s favorite pastimes were hard work, camping with Elinor and family members, and reading Louis Lamour novels. His passions included his family, especially grandchildren, his church family, and visiting on behalf of First Baptist Church of Aztec.
A viewing will take place 5:00 p.m. To 7:00 p.m. at Cope Memorial Chapel, 405 S. Park Ave., in Aztec on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.
Funeral services are scheduled at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, at First Baptist Church, 700 Navajo Ave. in Aztec with Dr. Mike Napier (Pastor of FBC, Aztec) and Dr. Kevin Parker (former Pastor of FBC, Aztec) officiating.
Pall Bearers include Chris Walker, Heath Amon, David Liebel, Kevin Lynn, Marcus Foelker, and Warman Hall. Honorary Pall Bearers are the Deacons of First Baptist Church, Aztec.
The family requests in-lieu of flowers that memorial contributions be made to the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home, PO Box 629, Portales, NM 88130 or online at https://www.nmbch.com/give/.
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