Emily L. Perry

Honored by:Marla Perry
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Emily Lydia Perry nee Borwig was born Aug. 14, 1917 to Albert E. and Emma Borwig in Waterloo, Iowa. She graduated from East High School in Waterloo June 6, 1936. She had aspirations of going on to college and later on to become a lawyer. However she met and ten days later married Leland Delos Perry on April 10, 1937 and bore him a son Leland Albert Perry on September 30, 1938. They moved to Floyd, Iowa in 1946 bought and ran a restaurant that became the hang out for the town's kids.

Emily was community conscience and allowed some of the kids actually lived with her and her family. While running the restaurant she became a political figure. She was elected to the City Council and the School Board. After she left the position of President of the School Board she served as Mayor Pro tem and was later elected Mayor of Floyd, Iowa. In 1954 the family moved to Ames were Emily served as the assistant clerk of city court. She began to sell real estate and later became the credit manager of the Spiegel mail order store and then its manager. They moved onto the Perry family farm in Zearing, Iowa to continue farming. In 1969 Emily took on raising her granddaughter Marla who was born on December 10, 1966.

At age fifty Emily got down on her hands and knees and taught Marla how to crawl and later to walk after a near fatal car accident that claimed Marla's mother Sue, her aunt Helen and grandfather Arlis Willingham. After becoming Marla's guardian they moved back to Ames. Emily L. Perry gave up her personal goal of becoming a lawyer to raise not only a family, but to take on raising a granddaughter in the later stages of her life.

This is my tribute to a very strong willed and strong minded woman who shaped my life and gave me the strength to go forth to do what I need to do. If she hadn't gotten on her hands and knees to teach me how to crawl I would not be able to stand as tall and as proud as I do today. She helped many people throughout her life. She was always there to listen to problems and to give advice. In her early years she was considered "ma" by many of Leland's friends and later was regarded as "grandma" to all of Marla's friends. Many people have missed her friendly ear since her death on September 30, 1988.