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Gail Perry joining Manteca Hall of Fame

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POSTED April 19, 2010 1:12 a.m.
Gail Perry - a key player in the multi-generation success of one of the nation’s largest melon and pumpkin brokering firms - is being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame.

The dinner and induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame will take place Saturday, May 1, at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $40 apiece and are available at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St., or by calling 239-KIDS.

Perry joins Sammy Davis (special recognition), Richard Durham Sr. (education), Evelyn Prouty (community service), Susie Beeler (at large), Kurt Giovannoni (art), Dr. Mel Larson (health care) and Janet Dyk (agriculture) as part of the Class of 2010.

Perry is being inducted for business.

She is the granddaughter of the late Frank Jessee who was one of the founding fathers of Manteca. Gail married George Jr. in 1974 and became involved with the family business - George Perry & Sons - that was established in 1925. She enthusiastically embraced the Perry concept that involves the entire family in the watermelon and pumpkin business working together while at the same time paving the way for future generations to be involved as well.

She started off in 1974 as a bookkeeper. In 1985 when the watermelon industry was in a major crisis in the United States, Gail was asked to step into the buying and selling aspects of the family business. She has since become known as one of the top saleswomen in the industry and has earned the respect of major grocery stores and other accounts. She is also credited with helping forge major changes and developments in both the pumpkin and watermelon industries.

She was the first secretary of the California-Arizona Watermelon Association and had a key role in its formation. She also has served with the National Watermelon Association

Family, as with everyone else in the extended Perry family, comes first with Gail. She has done everything possible to make sure that happens.

She has served as a catechism teacher and confirmation sponsor for St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. She also has assisted her brother-in-law Art Perry when he was chairman of the church’s Harvest Festival.

She has played an instrumental role in helping Perry & Sons gain numerous honors including Vendor of the Year given by Albertson Stores for outstanding service in taking care of their account; Manteca Chamber of Commerce Large Business of the Year in 1996 and 1997; Best of Manteca for agriculture in 2006, 2007, and 2008; Supplier of the Year Nationwide in 2001 by the National Watermelon Association; and countless awards for generous donations of watermelons and pumpkins to various community groups.

The 1968 Manteca High graduate attended business college in 1971 and completed the log book training seminar of the California Trucking Association in 2004.

Gail and her husband George have two children - Amy and George - as well as daughter-in-law Melissa along with grandsons Justin and Dylan and granddaughter Taylor.

Her favorite ways of relaxing include spending time with her three grandchildren, reading and collecting corkscrews with her husband George.

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