Thursday, October 15, 2015

Memories of Uncle Harlin

Harlin and Betty

My Uncle Harlin's step-daughter - my step-cousin? - sent this obituary, "Harlin J. Perryman," published in The Sacramento Bee (September 26, 2015):
Harlin J. Perryman was born in Zion, Arkansas, August 13, 1927, to Henry and Sarah Mabel (Shell) Perryman.

Near the close of World War II, and after he had graduated from Salem High School, his father signed the paperwork for him to serve in the U S Navy. His tour of duty completed, he returned to Arkansas and attended the University of Arkansas earning a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Master's Degree in French History. As he prepared to continue his studies for his Ph.D. at Penn State, he decided he had been away long enough and returned home. There he enrolled in law school and ran for the Arkansas State Assembly, winning the seat previously held by his father. After his graduation from law school and entrance to the bar, he lost his re-election bid to the Arkansas State Assembly. As a result he decided to travel the United States in search of a place to put down roots.

He finally settled in the South Bay area of San Jose, California. There he started a lengthy career in law. He also continued his interest in politics serving on several local and regional campaigns. He met and married Betty Baldwin. With Betty came a ready made family of 4 children, William, Melody, Steven and Deborah. Their five grandchildren, Marcella, Jeff, Kelly, Bethany and Hannah were a part of his life.

After their retirement in 1991, Harlin and Betty moved to the community of Magalia in Butte County. There they continued their activities in community events, playing bridge, gardening, volunteering and traveling. During this time Harlin, an avid cyclist, logged over 20,000 miles on his bicycle, becoming known as the "man who biked everywhere" around the ridge. As part of his cycling, he also became interested in watching the various birds he saw. He became an active member of the Audubon Society in both Butte and Sacramento Counties.

In Sept. 2000, Betty predeceased him after a long battle with diabetes. In 2006 he relocated, this time to Sacramento, to watch over Melody's house while she was working out of the area. Here he continued his interest in birdwatching and traveling, taking excursions several times a year on Audubon trips both in the United States and Canada.

He was predeceased by his father, mother, brother Max Henry and sister Hala Ferguson. He is survived by his sisters Ava Jo Bowling of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas and Gay Miller of Salem, Arkansas. He has extended family on both coasts and overseas. He loved to hear about their lives and adventures through his sisters. A Celebration of Life will be held behind Mather Air Force Base at Mather Regional Park Oct. 10th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. A parking fee will be provided by the family. In lieu of flowers, donations made to the Sacramento Audubon Society would be appreciated.
There's one mistake that probably needs correcting. Harlin's brother was not "Max Henry," but rather "Marx Henry." The name "Max," however, could be considered a laudable error that at least undoes an old, perhaps egregious error, for Marx was meant to be named "Marks," after one of Grandpa Perryman's Jewish friends in Arkansas politics, not Karl Marx.

The name "Marx" would have been a rather heavy burden to bear outside of the small community of Salem, Arkansas . . .

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At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uncle Harlin sounds like he was an interesting man. Hopefully you were able to spend a little time with him when you were in California. Brenda's Grandmother, who was born in 1910, passed a little over two weeks ago. She was still reading books and telling life stories up to the last few days of her life. Quite a lady! Any idea how long your Aunt Ava has lived in Horseshoe Bend?


At 6:19 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Ava Jo and her husband retired there over ten years ago, but she is now in Salem in a nursing home. Sun-Ae and I visited her, and she recognized me instantly, to my surprise, given that I had been forewarned that she might not.

As for Harlin, I got to know him very well while I lived in California.

Jeffery Hodges

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