George and Violet Perry’s smiles are brighter than usual these days. And there’s a very good reason for it. They have just arrived at life’s pinnacle that only a few are blessed to reach. That’s their diamond anniversary — 75 years of marital togetherness.
To mark that red-letter day, five generations of family members honored the patriarch and matriarch of the Perry family with a sit-down dinner at Chez Shari restaurant at the Manteca Golf Course a couple of days before the youthful nonagenarians, who were practically childhood sweethearts, had their actual anniversary.
They were married on Nov. 30, 1941, a day made even made more significant because it was George’s 23rd birthday. His bride just turned 19 less than two months before, on Oct. 7. He is now 98 years old; she is 94.
Just seven days after their wedding, and during their honeymoon, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on the “day that will live in infamy” — Dec. 7, which ushered in the United States’ entry into World War II.
“They were on their honeymoon when Pearl Harbor was bombed,” noted Art, the Perry’s oldest son and the second of the couple’s four children.
The couple’s love blossomed while countries all around the world, including the United States, waged war against each other.
Art firmly believes that love is what, “first of all,” nourished his parents’ long marriage.
“They have nothing but love for each other,” he said, which was obvious to everyone in the family throughout their life.
“Having their loving family around them has a lot to do with it, too. We’re around them every day. In fact, I’m going to go there and play card with them right now. They see their kids every day,” Art said as he wrapped up his day’s work at the family’s agri-business, Perry & Sons, which was started by his grandfather, Delfino, shortly after the turn of the 20th century and later turned into the successful melon and pumpkin industry that it is today.
Love is what nurtured and continues to nurture their four-generation family, said Art.
“There’s something about knowing that you’re loved. They (his parents) know that they’re loved. Basically, all humans need to be loved. I think that’s so important in life. And we learned that from the time were little, and we still live by that.
“And, of course, I always say, you have to have God in your life. My mom and dad definitely have God in their life. We always went to church every Sunday,” he added, recalling the years he and his siblings grew up in Manteca.
Five generations at 75th
It was a small and tightly knit group that got together to shower their love and heartfelt wedding anniversary wishes to George and Violet Perry at Chez Shari restaurant in Manteca. About 60 guests were in attendance which included Father Chad Wahl, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca where the Perrys have worshipped for decades, and Sister Ann Venita Britto, coordinator of the parish’s minister of caring.
Those who hosted the white-linen dining-table dinner were the Perrys’ children — Carol, Art, George, and David; their daughters-in-law, nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren (two are on the way). Daughter-in-law and Art’s wife, Diane, could not make it to the celebration but was there in spirit. She was in Canada, where she grew up and where her family still live, to be with her mother who is in a hospital. Also missing but remembered in spirit was the Perrys’ only son-in-law, Fred, Carol’s late husband.