Perry is my oldest friend. While some have turned their backs and betrayed, Perry has remained.
That being said, we've had a habit of staying out of touch at times in recent years. One or the other of us usually calls the other. Not lately.
Perry suffered a stroke a while back. It affected his speech and memory,
Our conversations continued and I listened closely as his speech was labored, not at all the robust preacher/professor he was.
We met in the same college class and hit it off. History, religious and military, a love of language and a calling to help others cemented the bond.
Our lives frequently crisscrossed, with church, family and a passion to help others help themselves. Not 'to' but 'from' poverty and despair.
It's hard to put in words what is engraved on the heart and mind.
He encouraged me and I got him to smile. Tough times were easier with a friend like him.
My daughter and his kids played together. No guile or pc baloney. Just honest love and caring.
We gathered food from stores and distributed it to the needy. Long before 'official' orgs did this. We initiated pantries in many churches.
We both preached that faith is to be lived, that the orgs were there but the people meant more.
We both had an ear for those in trouble. We reached out to kids and mentored where we could.
This gives you an idea of the kind of man Perry is. He worked hard, achieved a Doctorate in Education but always took care of his kids.
I will update when I know more.
21 hours ago