Wanda Jean Cross Perry - our beloved Mom, Grandma, Great-grandma, sister, wife, and friend went to be with the Lord on April 5, 2023 at her home in Idaho Falls, Idaho following a long battle with cancer. She was 82 years old. Visitation will be at 1:15 pm, followed by the funeral service at 2:00 pm at Calvary Baptist Church 785 1st Street Idaho Falls, on April 14, 2023 where she and her family attended church for over 50 years.
Jean was born on May 30, 1940, in Alamogordo, New Mexico to Barney Edward and Virginia Estelle McRae Cross. She attended New Mexico State University where she met Loyd Dale Perry at the Baptist Student Union. They married on June 5, 1962 and celebrated over 60 years of marriage. They had five children: Jeffrey (Virginia) Perry, Jenifer (Paul) Kallio, Lee (Angie) Perry, Loyd Perry and Wanda (Clint) Roberts.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Virginia and Barney Cross and her beloved grandmother, Lucile McRae. She is survived by her sister Joann Smith, brother Laird Charles Cross. She is survived also by her husband, Dale Perry, five children, two daughter in-laws, two son in-laws, 22 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Jean had a fulfilling, meaningful and well-lived life. She leaves behind many cherished relatives and dear friends, but she rejoices in reunion with Jesus and the loved ones that passed before her.
Jean graduated from high school in Alamogordo, New Mexico. She pursued her bachelors degree in Elementary Education at NMSU in Las Cruces. Jean strongly believed in the value of a good education. She was proud of the fact that her father had been a school superintendent and her mother a 2nd grade teacher for many years.
After marrying Dale, motherhood and homemaking became Jean’s favorite occupation. She put her whole heart, soul and life into raising her children and taking great care of her family. She created an atmosphere of love, acceptance and fun for the family. She made it a habit to pray with her children every night as they were going to bed. She took great delight in her kids and always had a smile and encouraging words to give. Jean also had “bonus” children over the years as opportunities arose. As an aunt to Tiffany and Mark Perry, she welcomed them to spend many summers at our home. They are considered a part of the family as well. Two exchange students, Rainer Moritz and Andrea Rauch, both from Germany, were invited to live and study in our home. Each of them stayed for a year and were treated as family.
As everyone grew up, she loved to create opportunities for her children and grandchildren to enjoy new experiences. She would plan ski trips to the mountains, hiking trips to Jenny Lake, and camping trips to Yellowstone. Nothing could get in the way of her taking every opportunity to spend time together with her family and helping them to succeed. Jean was a lot of fun! Her children enjoyed teasing her about various “quirks” such as her many floppy hats in the summertime. She often found things to laugh about. She also made it a priority to keep in touch with and regularly visit her siblings and their families. Living far away from relatives, she was intentional about family gatherings that would help stay connected.
Jean loved a beautiful flower garden. In her retirement she became a Master Gardener. Every year she enjoyed getting outside, cultivating the ground and working to produce a lovely outdoor bouquet. She also helped Dale in the vegetable garden, especially during harvest. Every fall she would gather, clean and can or freeze loads of vegetables! She liked to enlist the help of any family or friends who happened to be around and harvest time would become a party! She taught her grandchildren how to can green beans and how to make raspberry jam. The pantry was full by the end of the season. Usually, all extra garden produce was offered to neighbors, church friends and the local food pantry.
After raising her children, Jean taught school (1st and 2nd grades) for 12 years at Kinghorn Elementary School in Rigby, Idaho. As a passionate educator, she taught hundreds of children to read over her years of teaching. She knew just how to engage the students to enjoy learning and how to encourage them in order to build confident readers.
As Jean told it, she attended Grace Methodist Church in Alamogordo as a child. At 13 years old, she loved going to her youth group. As she learned more about Jesus Christ, her relationship with God flourished. Jean has been a faithful member of Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls for over 50 years. She has volunteered for so many things throughout the years. From serving in the kitchen, helping in the nursery, and working at Vacation Bible school to chairing the flower committee, hosting youth activities, and helping with ladies events, Jean liked to help in whatever way she could.
Throughout her life, she made decisions based on her faith in God and doing what was right. Jean “preached the gospel of Jesus Christ” every day. She didn’t discuss theology, debate, or walk up to strangers to talk about Jesus. Jean showed the gospel of Christ through the way she loved and treated others every day of her life. She often would say to her kids, “Be ye kind, one to another”. Therefore she had no regrets in life. Wanda Jean Perry was a blessing to all who knew her. She will undoubtedly be remembered most for her unconditional love and selfless support of her family and loved ones.
Donations can be made in one of the following ways:
Give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering at the following link to help the Native American populations. https://www.aplos.com/aws/give/ChankuWasteRanch
Plant flowers or a tree in her honor.
She loved flowers. She also liked to help the Native Americans in our nation.
This service will be live streamed at the following link: https://www.calvaryidahofalls.org/livestream/