Coleman R. (Coley) Perry. Born June 10, 1924, died June 19, 2015. He lived his entire life in Nashville and middle Tennessee, graduating from Duncan Preparatory School and the University of the South. Coley cheated death on more than one occasion, joining the 100th Infantry Division in WW II at the tender age of 17 and earning the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, one at the Battle of the Bulge. He survived a major brain aneurism at age 54 and a plane crash some years later. Coley was tough. He was also known for tearing up when recounting serving his country or the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
He joined Vulcan Steel after graduating from Sewanee but quickly parlayed his love for people and his business savvy into a successful career representing major hardware and sports equipment manufacturers across the South with his own business, the Perry & Barr Company. In the early days of his career, before interstate highways and air-conditioned automobiles he traveled the back roads of the South four or five days a week, bragging that he never once greeted a customer without his coat on or his tie tight against his neck. He was the epitome of a Southern gentleman.
He was married to the former Lacy Erwin for 64 years, who survives him along with three children: Delia (Coleman) Brown of Baton Rouge; Coleman R. Perry, Jr. and Sara (Albie) Del Favero of Nashville. His son, Neil Perry, pre-deceased him. He is also survived by five granddaughters: Lise (Tom) Barbour, Denver; Lara (Steve) Sevener, Atlanta; Avalyn (Tarn) Fox, Portland, OR; Lacy Perry Del Favero and Elena Anne Del Favero of Nashville; one grandson: Coley Perry Brown, Los Angeles and six great-granddaughters.
Coley was an accomplished snow skier well into his 70’s and the most patient ski instructor a grandchild could ask for. Known as “Cool Cat” on the links at McCabe and the Belle Meade Country Club, he played golf into his mid-80’s shooting his age more than once. The family is thankful for his dedicated caregiver Linda Johnson and the caring staff of Brookdale Belle Meade Residence.
Memorial service will be at West End United Methodist Church, 2300 West End Ave. on Thursday June 25. Visitation at 1:00 PM followed by service at 2 PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson St., Nashville 37203, or Friends of Warner Parks, 50 Vaughn Rd., Nashville 37221.