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Theresa M. Perry

October 1, 1935 ~ August 2, 2022 (age 86)


A new shining star lights up the heavens this week. Theresa M. Perry, 86, took her place among the stars in the heavens on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. A beautiful, gentle soul, Theresa fought the good fight against Alzheimer’s for over 16 years, thanks to the loving and caring support of her family. Having spent the majority of her life in service to others, it was only fitting that she was the recipient of love and devotion from those who loved her most in her later years.

Theresa was born to Joseph and Martha Gadacz on a warm October 1, 1935. The youngest of six, she was a typical little sister, a fine student, and a great friend. She dated a promising young Notre Dame Law student named Arthur J. Perry for many years, before proposing to him and marrying him on July 6, 1957. She spent the first few years of their marriage working odd jobs, like wrapping candies in the basement of Fannie May, to help him pay for school and keep their home running before welcoming their first child in 1959. Over the next 16 years, she gave birth to six more children, creating the family that brought her such joy and happiness for all of her life.

When she wasn’t caring for her seven children and later seven grandchildren, she could be found volunteering her time at Corpus Christi Parish, the Knights of Columbus, and other worthy organizations that were close to her heart. If something needed done, you could always count on Theresa. She was nothing if not devoted, determined, and hard-working. To anyone who had the pleasure to know her, she was a dynamo.  She could carpool the kids to school, organize a funeral luncheon, help kids with homework, mow the lawn, run an Altar & Rosary Society meeting, make dinner, and still find time to wash, iron, and fold a load of laundry and run the vacuum at two in the morning. And depending on the day, she’d even squeeze in a game of BINGO, if she could.

Selfless, loving, and spirited, Theresa is survived by her constant source of joy, those who will miss her presence in their lives the most, her children, Sheryl L. Perry, Michele P. Gregor (John), Christopher A. Perry (Patricia), Kimberly S. Perry, Daryn J. Perry, and Trisha A. Perry; and her grandchildren, Nicholas DeBoer, Ryan DeBoer (Stephanie), Jamie Hale (David), Jonell Radabaugh (Brendan), Brady Ruffing, C.J. Ruffing, and Bridget Williams (Brandon).

To say that Alzheimer’s was a blessing may seem strange, but without it, Theresa would have surely struggled to contend with the deaths of those who preceded her, including her brothers, Kelly and Benny Gadacz; her sister and best friend, Betty Andrysiak; her son, Brian F. Perry, and her husband, Arthur J. Perry. Her love for and devotion to her family was so deep and abiding, these losses would have pained her greatly.

We will surely miss everything about Theresa, her bright smile, her infectious laugh, her many Polish catchphrases, her love of music and ability to Polka like a champ, her deep sense of empathy, the smell of Sweet Pea lotion on her skin, her love of animals, her overwhelming hospitality, and the light that she brought into a room. She was definitely one-of-a-kind, and the world will be lonelier without her in it. Rest in peace, Matka, you may be gone, but you will never be forgotten.

The family would like to thank her very special caregivers from Always Best Care, the dedicated people from The Center for Hospice Care, and all those who took the time to ask about Theresa in her later years. She truly touched so many lives.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 7, 2022 from 4-8 PM at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend. A rosary will be said at 4PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will occur at 10:00 AM the following day, Monday, August 8, 2022 at Corpus Christi Church in South Bend, with burial to follow in Highland Cemetery, South Bend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Corpus Christi Parish.  

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