The Rev. Dr. Douglas Johnson PERRY (April 18, 1941 – June 15, 2022)
Doug Perry made Ontario his home for more than 50 years, but he was always a Maritimer at heart. Born in Moncton, N.B., he grew up in Petitcodiac, where his life revolved around fishing, baseball and the Baptist church. He attended Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., with the intention of becoming a chemical engineer. But after graduating in 1963 with a BSc, he decided instead to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and enter the ministry, earning a BDiv from Acadia in 1966, and graduate divinity degrees from Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts.
The impact of the church on Doug’s life was profound, both professionally and personally. He served Baptist churches in Amherst and Avonport, N.S., before moving to Ontario in 1971 to become a chaplain at Warkworth Institution. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Queen’s Theological College in Kingston, Ont., and trained several generations of United Church ministers in pastoral care. Doug had a strong sense of ethics and justice; when his advocacy for LGBTQ inclusion in the 1990s put him at odds with prevailing Baptist views, he found a new spiritual home at Chalmers United Church, where he was a congregant for many years.
Church connections were also instrumental in Doug meeting Marilyn, his wife of 53 years. One of Marilyn’s uncles, a minister in Springhill, N.S., invited Doug over for dinner one night when Marilyn was visiting from New Brunswick. Painfully shy, Doug got cold feet and turned up three hours late. Luckily, Marilyn didn’t hold it against him; they were married on May 24, 1969, and welcomed two daughters, Jane and Ann, in the ensuing years.
Despite struggling with depression and anxiety throughout much of his life, Doug had many and varied interests, chiefly his family. He taught his daughters how to throw a baseball and use a level, and instilled in them the importance of always keeping receipts. He loved listening to pipe organ music, and often belted out old hymns from his childhood in the woods at the family cottage. Despite his slight build, Doug was famous for his capacity to scarf down seconds and thirds at dinner and for his passion for ice cream – preferably chocolate. One of his greatest joys was being a grandfather to Grace, whom he adored.
Doug died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at the Bayshore Transitional Care Unit in Amherstview, Ont., with his beloved Marilyn holding his hand. His final hours were full of love and music, with “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven” – the processional hymn they chose for their wedding – easing his way. We hope the fish are biting in heaven’s version of the Petitcodiac River.
Doug was predeceased by his parents, Dora Amelia (Johnson) and Edmond Moore Perry. He is survived by his wife Marilyn (Keirstead); daughters Jane Perry (Cora Castle) and Ann Perry (Scott Howarth); granddaughter Grace Perry-Howarth; sister Edna Hajnal and brother-in-law Peter Hajnal; nephew Mark Hajnal; and step-grandsons Brendan and Owen Howarth. We are grateful to the staff of the Bayshore Transitional Care Unit for their excellent and compassionate care over the past year. There was much love there for Doug.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we would be most grateful for donations to U.H.K.F. (Kingston Health Sciences Centre).