Natalie Hoxsie Bailey Perry of Barrington, R.I., died at her daughter’s home in Centerville on July 27 with family and loved ones by her side. She was 85.
She died after several years of declining health, which took her away from her home and daily two-mile walks on the beach in Barrington. Natalie moved to Cape Cod in 2012 to live with her daughter Rebecca, and it was there that she received incredible support and tremendous care from a network of caregivers who provided her with the dignity and grace she deserved in her final months and days.
Born in Warwick in 1929, Natalie was the daughter of Eunice Hoxsie Bailey, and the niece of Lydia Hoxsie. She grew up in West Warwick, and was valedictorian of the 1947 class at West Warwick High School. She was graduated from Pembroke College in 1951, with a double major in French and Spanish. It was here that she met her husband Edward Mahlon (Mal) Perry, who was studying chemistry at Brown University. They were married in 1952. She taught elementary school, first in Storrs, Conn., and then at the Maple Avenue School in Barrington before beginning a family in 1956. She was a resident of Barrington for more than 56 years.
Natalie was a past state officer of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls. She was also a violinist in the Brown-Pembroke Orchestra and the Barrington Symphony. She was division manager for World Book Encyclopedia, and retired in 1996 after 25 years.
Natalie and Mal were longtime season subscribers to Trinity Repertory Theater and enjoyed a many decades-long relationship with a terrific group of friends who gathered regularly to discuss plays and movies. She kept in touch with the City Girls from Pembroke and attended her high school and college reunions faithfully.
For over 35 years, the Perry family summered on their wooden boat Bec-Mar II, docked at the Coastwise Wharf in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. On the Vineyard, Natalie made many close friends and was famous for her special fish chowder, which she often contributed to the weekly potluck dock parties.
She was much loved by those who knew her, and was a force of nature who will not be forgotten. An accomplished knitter, she also sewed beautifully and her cooking was unparalleled, with her brownies being a favorite of many. She is remembered for baking bread, raising golden retriever puppies and digging quahogs with her toes.
Natalie’s greatest legacy is her dedication and example as a mother; she loved and supported her family unconditionally. Those who knew her were lucky to know simply one of the sweetest, kindest people they have ever met, and we are all blessed to have had her as our mother, mother in law, grandmother, neighbor and friend. The sparkle in her eye, her easy smile and her quick wit are sorely missed, but the legacy she leaves behind is greater than words can express.
Natalie was the beloved wife of the late Edward Mahlon (Mal) Perry for over 58 years, and the devoted mother of five children: E. Jonathan and his wife Gerralyn of Kingston, R.I., Christopher and his wife Celia of Homer, Alaska, Rebecca of Centerville, Martha Perry Morrissette and her husband Richard of West Warwick, R.I., and Daniel and his wife Arden of Santa Cruz, Calif. She was also survived by her grandchildren: E. Jonathan Perry II, Hannah and her husband Andrew Hale, and Zen, Ananda and Clif Russo-Perry.
A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Barrington Congregational (White) Church on County Road, Barrington, R.I., with private interment in Swan Point Cemetery, Blackstone boulevard, Providence.
To honor Natalie’s legacy, donations in her memory may be made to Trinity Repertory Company or to Save the Bay. Visit smithmason.com for information and online condolences.