Dorothy Singleton Perry
Dorothy Singleton Perry
  • August 18, 1927 - January 3, 2018
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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Dorothy Singleton Perry, 90, died January 3, 2018 at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community, Raleigh.

Born August 18, 1927 in Parkview Hospital in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Dorothy was the daughter of Gary Higgins Singleton and Ruth Freemen Singleton. She was preceded in death by her parents, and by her spouse, Mack Donald Perry, Jr. She is survived by her daughter Alice Ruth Perry; by her sons: Mack D. Perry, III (Don) and Giles S. Perry; by her brothers Gary F. Singleton and Dr. Robert E. Singleton, and by special first cousin Jean White Finch, all of Raleigh. In addition, Dorothy is survived by beloved members of her extended Singleton, Freeman, Perry, and Robertson families, and many cherished friends.

Dorothy spent her first three years in Spring Hope, where her father taught agriculture at Spring Hope High School. In August of 1930, the family moved to Cary, then a small town, where her father had taken a new agriculture teaching position at Cary High School. There, Dorothy and her parents lived in a simple wood frame house across from the school on Academy Street. Dorothy often recalled her childhood days in Cary as idyllic. Her father became manager of Wake Farmers Cooperative in Raleigh, and in March 1936, the family moved to a new home on Henderson Street in Raleigh.

Dorothy was fortunate to have two parents who were able to attend and graduate from college: her father from Clemson and Rutgers, her mother from Chowan and UNC-Chapel Hill. They helped develop a lifelong love of learning in Dorothy, and her brothers. Dorothy attended first grade in Cary. She was promoted from first to third grade, and continued her elementary education after moving at Raleigh's Fred Olds Elementary School. Dorothy then attended Broughton High School, where she graduated as valedictorian in 1944. In 1948, Dorothy graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh with a degree in history and sociology, summa cum laude, and as valedictorian.

After graduation, Dorothy served as a teacher for one year at Goldsboro High School, and for two years at Mount Vernon Goodwin Elementary School in west Raleigh.

In the spring of 1947, Dorothy met her future husband, and love of her life, Mack Donald Perry, Jr. of eastern Wake County, at an event attended by Meredith and Wake Forest College students. Dorothy and Mack were married August 13, 1949 at First Baptist Church, Salisbury Street, Raleigh, and remained happily married for over 65 years, until Mack's death in 2015.

Dorothy and Mack began their married life in a home near Five Points, and faithfully and lovingly raised their children there, and later at a home on Yadkin Drive in North Hills.

Dorothy was a devoted daughter, wife, mother and homemaker. She faithfully loved and supported her husband. She unconditionally loved and encouraged her children. She nurtured in them a love of learning. She was an excellent cook, and was noted for her delicious cakes, pies, and desserts. She gladly entertained and fed countless friends of her children, engaging them in interesting conversation, and listening to their stories. In her parents' later years, she regularly visited them, and cared for their needs. Dorothy was also a skilled manager of her family's financial affairs.

Dorothy was part of a large extended family, and she enjoyed attending family reunions, and visiting with her many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Dorothy was a member of First Baptist Church in Raleigh for over 70 years. In the 1940s, she enjoyed traveling by train with other youth from the church to the Ridgecrest Conference Center in the North Carolina mountains. As an adult, she served in several roles, including organizing the Mary Martha Sunday School class for young women in the early 1950s; participating in the Women's Church Circle; teaching children's classes in the 1960s; and serving for 14 years as co-teacher of the adult women's Ellen Brewer Sunday School class in the 1970s and 1980s.

Dorothy often mentioned her years at Meredith College as some of the most memorable and transformative of her life. She was deeply influenced by the progressive, intellectual, ethical, and supportive environment for women she found there. Dorothy was a strong believer in education for women, and supported Meredith College her entire life, through participation in alumnae activities, service on the Friends of the Library Board, and the support of student scholarships.

Dorothy had a brilliant mind and intellectual curiosity, was an avid reader, and loved literature of all types. In 1956, she helped organize the Touchstone Book Club, named after the jester in Shakespeare's "As You Like It". The club met monthly for over 50 years. In the 1970s, she undertook the academic study of the Bible in continuing education studies at Meredith with Professors Crook and McLean, and historic preservation studies with Emyl Jenkins. In the 1980s, she was a member of the Raleigh Dickens Club, and read every work by Charles Dickens at least once. From 1987 to 2007, Dorothy attended 40 semester length continuing education literature classes taught by Dr. Norma Rose and Suzanne Britt at Meredith, reading and studying many subjects, including all of Shakespere, modern science writing, African-American literature, 19th and 20th century American and European literature, sociology and psychology, and world literature. Dorothy's library had hundreds of books, which she enjoyed sharing and discussing with others.

Dorothy was also interested in art, history, and natural science. She participated in the activities of the Wake County Historical Society for many years. She served as a docent at the Andrew Johnson and Mordecai Houses, at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. There, and elsewhere, Dorothy loved to teach children, and was naturally patient and kind with them.

Dorothy maintained a lifelong and keen interest in the political process. She was a progressive and loyal Democrat. She attended precinct meetings, the Wake County Democratic Convention, and Wake County Democratic Women. She voted in every election. She believed that service as a government employee was a worthwhile and noble calling.

Dorothy enjoyed exercise all