Michael Thomas Perry

Michael Thomas Perry, 57 of Harrisonburg, VA, passed away Saturday, September 2, 2017.  Mr. Perry was born January 30, 1960 in National City, California, the son of Richard U. Perry and Janette R. Perry.  He was a graduate of Clear Lake High School in Clear Lake City, Texas.  He received an Associate in Science degree from Northern Virginia Community College in 1992 and a Bachelor of Science in Geography from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1995.  After completing his student teaching, he received his teaching endorsement at JMU for middle school education and was licensed by the Virginia Department of Education in 1995.

Surviving are his parents of Basye, VA, a brother, Kirk Douglas Perry and his wife Xenia of Leander, Texas, and a sister, Theresa C. Knauf and her husband Tom of Montross, VA.

After Graduating from High School, Mike worked for the Boy Scouts of America for 19 summers in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Virginia before and during college as a Camp Counselor, a Reservation Aquatics Director, Ecology/Conservation Director, and Food Distributions manager.  He supervised and trained counselors, lifeguards and adult leaders in swimming and boating safety and taught scouts from 10 to 18 years old.  His work with youth influenced his decision to go into teaching as a career.  Lessons learned with the boys in the wilderness have grown into practical applications in the class room and provided wonderful stories of humorous experiences.

He started teaching fourth grade of elementary school at Keister Elementary in Harrisonburg, VA in 1995 and had just started his 22nd year teaching the fifth grade students and leading the fifth grade teaching staff.  “It is important for students to have a positive male role model in the school setting and for those teachers to give their insight into how to be successful”, he told the Daily News Record when they ran an article about the scarcity of men in the classroom.  Mr. Perry’s dedication and commitment went beyond what many men are willing to give for the compensation they are willing to receive.  Mr. Perry never expected thanks or rewards except for the gratification he got when he heard about one of his former students who excelled in school after moving on to a higher grade.  He will be sorely missed and leaves a large vacancy in his school and in the hearts of the students and faculty at Keister.

Among the awards Mr. Perry has received are the state wide Virginia Lottery Super Teacher Award, and the Massanutten Regional Library Honored Teacher of the Year after more than 300 students from Harrisonburg, Rockingham, and Page counties wrote essays about their favorite teachers.

Arrangements are being handled by Dellinger Funeral Home in Mt. Jackson, VA.  A memorial service will be conducted Saturday, the 16th of September 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Basye, VA with Reverend David Drebes officiating.  Burial of his ashes will be in the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Cemetery in Basye, VA.  In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Boy Scouts of America Summer Camps or the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church memorial fund.

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