Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

John Perry

Mar. 29 1941- Nov. 11, 2018


November 15, 2018

John Wesley Perry

John Wesley Perry

John Wesley Perry arrived at Dr. Wiseman's Colfax, Wash., Clinic, March 29, 1941, during WSC's (WSU) National Championship Basketball Game. Both the doctor and Keith Perry, John's soon-to-be-Dad were listening to the game in the waiting room on Keith's small radio. Audrey Grantham Perry, an RN by profession, insisted that delivering John in good working order was more important. Dr. Wiseman darted from delivery room to waiting room as Keith updated him moment-to-moment.

John's successful delivery launched his lifelong love affair with Colfax and Whitman County. Three years and one day later, his younger brother George Frederick Perry was born, completing the family and providing John with a lifelong partner in hunting, fishing and golfing adventures.

John walked to Hamilton Grade School until advancing to the "old high school." Basketball, however, was not to be his sport. Aspiring to the freshman squad, he heard Coach yell, "Perry, you're TERRIBLE! You're getting an "A" in biology, but you're flunking basketball." John turned in his uniform; a golf star was born. He was part of the last class in that building, graduating in 1959. Working summers at the Union Flat elevator of Colfax Grain Growers (now PNW), he financed his college education at WSU. He received numerous academic awards and honors, as well as his BS in Accounting and his MBA. His CPA certificate soon followed.

Recruited by Arthur Anderson, a foremost national accounting firm, his professional career began in Portland, Oregon. He, his new wife, Bonnie Kuehner of Palouse, and newly adopted daughter, Brenda Jo, became Oregonians. But, Washington state still called, especially when he discovered that golf and fishing were a full hour away in one direction and the office was a full hour away in the opposite direction from a home he could afford. Company policy of only allowing Arthur Anderson Partners to wear blue jeans to the office on Saturday, finished John's interest in both big accounting firms and big cities.

He moved his little family to Moses Lake where he was employed by a multi-community accounting firm. Here, Jennifer Jean was born, completing his family of two daughters. When Harold Kirkpatrick offered him a position in Colfax with Kirkpatrick and Utgaard, John immediately and gratefully accepted, relieved to be "home," back in his comfort zone.

His loyalty to Colfax and Whitman County has been total. Two terms on City Council, many years on the Whitman Hospital Board, founding treasurer of the Palouse Empire Fair Foundation, Colfax Golf Course Board Member, Rotary office including President, Treasurer of several political campaigns and Partner (now retired) at Kirkpatrick, Utgaard and Perry, P.S.

Family life changed when Bonnie left the marriage for other commitments. After a brief marriage to Mary Fox, Oakesdale, John went solo for several years. On May 30, 1986, John married Helen Mac Donald Snediker, who brought her five children: Tad (Roberta) Mac Donald, Michelle (Gary) Domingo, Pierre (Pamela) and John Snediker into the family. Many grand and great-grandchildren added their love and hustle to the family. They all survive as do daughters, Jenna (Scott) Shannon of Manhattan, N.Y., Brenda Kappos, her daughter, Kathleen (Austin) Zajicek and their daughter, Audrey. Helen Perry, his widow, resides at the family home, Hill Ray in Colfax.

John's recreational activities fueled his spirit. Elk hunting, fly fishing (and fly tying), golfing (he was 5-time Colfax Golf Course Champion), stalking whitetails and upland birds were his peak moments. Being an avid reader, indoors during the "off-season," he devoured mysteries, sporting magazines and catalogs. The floor was his filing system. He was still modifying his golf grip as he was wheeled into Whitman Health and Rehab' last month.

A step-grandson, an Air Force linguist, wrote John a recent note, "Some of my best memories are with Grandpa. All the trips down to the golf course...the sighting in of my rifle, fishing, playing cards.....I love you, Grandpa."

John died Sunday evening, November 11, 2018 in Colfax. A private family burial will be held, followed next spring with a celebration of life at a local venue. You, his much appreciated friends, are invited. Bring stories and memories to share.

Our laughter will please John, even though he may be busy out fishing in the heavenly blue-ribbon trout waters. Spring fishing season may be just opening.

Memorials are suggested to either the Colfax Golf Course Foundation, the Whitman Community Hospital Foundation or another local charity of your choice. On-line guest book is at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com

Bruning Funeral Home, Colfax, is privileged to care for John and the family.


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