Ms. Artelia Marsh Perry
March 25, 1922 – September 20, 2021
Durham, North Carolina – Mrs. Artelia Belle Marsh Perry, 99, passed peacefully from this life to eternity early Monday morning, September 20, 2021. Mrs. Perry, a 1976 Mum in Durham, was the mother of 16 children, many of them now serving the community of Durham in various professions and trades. She was the widow of Reverend Lawrence Pryor Perry, who predeceased her in 1989.
Ms. Perry enjoyed her first six years of formal education at Lyon Park Elementary School. She graduated in 1939 from the Palmer Memorial Institute, benefiting from five years of high school education under the direction of the famous Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown.
Originally from Durham and raised in the West End community, she dedicated the first 30 years of her marriage to raising children and supporting Reverend Perry in his pastoral ministries in County Chatham, Raleigh and Durham. When Alexander, her 16th child, entered first grade, she enrolled at Central North Carolina University to complete the degree she had started 32 years earlier at Bennett College. She graduated in 1976 with her 9th child, Dwight. She went on to be the exemplary principal of St. Mark’s Kindergarten and Grade 1.
Ms. Perry was a longtime esteemed member of the Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Zion). His grandmother, Sarah Womble Marsh initiated the founding of St. Mark AME Zion Church. Mrs. Perry grew to love the church from this grandmother who helped with her education, as well as from her beloved father, Isiah H. Marsh, and her beloved mother, Belle Watson Marsh. Among the many contributions to St. Mark’s, Ms. Perry served as deaconess, trustee, and steward. She has served in various leadership positions at the conference and connection levels, including serving as district missionary society president for 28 years.
In 1972, she founded the Durham Interfaith Association of Wives of Ministers and Widows of Ministers. As in her other fields of activity, she has received numerous awards for outstanding service within this organization at the national, regional and international levels.
Mrs. Perry’s eldest child, Gloria Zarinah Saleem, predeceased her in 2019. She is survived by Dr Joyce Perry Edwards (Rev. Dr Murray L. Edwards), Elder Lawrence P. Perry (Dr Gloria W. Perry), Stilwyn Perry Brown, Artelia Perry Burt-Alston (Timothy E. Alston), Robert T. Perry, Esq. (Willoree Lawson Perry), Ziyadah Sharolyn Saleem, Radeyah Carolyn Saleem, Dr Dwight D. Perry (Dr Veronica Ray), Pamela Y. Perry (Rudy Gipson), Timothy M. Saleem (Teresa Larkins Saleem), Allyson Perry Gattis (Jonathan D . Gattis, Sr.), Isaiah Hunter Perry (Phyllis P. Perry), John Wesley Perry, Esq. (Kathy Everett-Perry, Esq.), Still Preston Perry (Carlotta Denise Wade-Perry), Alexander S. Perry. Esq. (Nichelle J. Perry, Esq.); 49 grandchildren and their 27 spouses including two in memory of love, 73 great-grandchildren and 4 spouses including one in memory of love, and 10 great-great-grandchildren; several cherished nieces and nephews and cousins; Maye Tyson Jackson, her friend and alumnus of the Palmer Memorial Institute Class of 1939; and a host of dear friends.
His life will be celebrated on Saturday, September 25 at 2 pm at St. Mark AME Zion Church, Durham. The body can be viewed at Burthey Funeral Services on Friday, September 24, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. The family encourages Artelia’s many friends and associates to share with them on Facebook Live at stmarkameziondaurham. Due to the need to severely restrict gatherings during the pandemic, attendance will be limited to the offspring of Lawrence and Artelia Perry and other close relatives.
The family welcomes expressions of sympathy honoring the memory of Artelia Perry in the form of contributions to the Lawrence & Artelia Perry Scholarship Fund (PO Box 2131, Durham, NC 27702), which supports deserving students in need of be enrolled in Bennett College, Livingstone College, and the Central University of North Carolina.
Published by The Herald Sun September 23-24, 2021.