July 17, 1933 - November 11, 2021
Dr. Patsy Brewington Perry, daughter of the late James C. and Rosa Kirby Brewington, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 17, 1933. At an early age, she moved with her parents to Clinton, North Carolina, where she attended school, graduating from Sampson High School as valedictorian in 1950. Continuing her education at North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University), she was inducted into several honors organizations, including Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. She was awarded the Volkamenia Prize for excellence in English and graduated magna cum laude in 1954. She was nominated to Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. During the academic year, 1954-55, on a scholarship from North Carolina College, she earned the Master’s degree in English. With other academic honors, scholarships, and awards, she pursued further studies. In the summer of 1967, she was a Danforth Scholar at the University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Connecticut; in 1968, she was awarded a Career Teaching Fellowship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from which she earned the Ph.D. in English in 1972. Upon completion of the Ph.D., Dr. Perry resumed full-time teaching in the Department of English at North Carolina Central University where she had been employed since 1959. In addition to teaching at NCCU, Dr. Perry was an Institute participant at Meredith College (1974), a Visiting Professor at Duke University (1975), a Lecturer at the University of Maryland (1977), and a Panelist at numerous institutions. She was a student-researcher in Institutes at the University of Iowa (1974), the University of North Carolina (1987, 1988, 1991), and at the University of Ghana in Legon (1995). Prior to becoming a full-time administrator in 1995, Dr. Perry was also active in scholarly publication, a fact underscored in her 1991 Research Award from NCCU and documented by her numerous publications. Dr. Perry was active in many professional organizations, including Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, the College Language Association, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, the Philological Association of the Carolinas, and The Langston Hughes Society. She was also a member of the Advisory Council to the State Board of Education, the North Carolina Humanities Committee, and the Graduate Council of the University of North Carolina. She served as a Review Panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, as a Reader for the College Board English Composition Examination, and as a Reader for the South Atlantic Review. For her valuable contributions in varied roles, Dr. Perry received numerous citations and awards, including a Ford Foundation Recognition for Excellence in Teaching Writing (1989), a YWCA Silver Medallion in Education (1991), and listings in Who’s Who in Black America (1991) and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest (1991). Although she proudly claimed teaching and research to be central to her professional life, Dr. Perry accepted and effectively performed numerous administrative responsibilities. She served as Chair of the Department of English, 1979-90; as Head of the Division of Arts and Humanities, 1989-90; as Special Assistant to the late Chancellor Julius L. Chambers, 1993-94; as Director of the University Honors Program, 1994-95; and as Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 1995 until her retirement in 1998. In 1999, Dr. Perry was elected to the UNC Board of Governors, the policy-making body for the sixteen-campus UNC System, and in 2001, she was appointed to the Liaison Committee of the State Board of Education /Board of Governors/State Board of Community Colleges. Administrators, faculty, staff, and students alike, admired and respected her for the patience and the warmth with which she exacted high standards for herself and others. When complimented on her contributions to North Carolina Central University, she always responded with a sincere, “Thank you for the opportunity to have served.” Patsy Perry had an easy smile and a pleasant, firm voice. She was precise and well organized. She moved elegantly. She was a ready and cheerful aid to any who needed her professional or personal skills. Patsy was a loyal member of St. Joseph AME Church, the home church of her late husband, Attorney Wade Wayne Perry, whom she married in 1955, and who predeceased her on September 21, 2019. She found joy in balancing her roles as wife, mother, grandmother and, for fifteen years, caregiver for her own mother; her love, grace, and pride knew no bounds. She managed her memberships in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Durham chapter of The Links, and Girl Friends, Inc., The Tuesday Morning Study Group, The NCCU Alumni Association, and The Association of NCCU Retired Personnel, likewise. Both Patsy and Wayne enjoyed entertaining their many friends and colleagues in their home. As well, Patsy enjoyed gardening; she nurtured multiple indoor and outdoor plants, though she was really afraid of the bugs, frogs, snakes which often accompanied the latter. She enjoyed the fine arts. She read and traveled widely. She sought first editions of works on African-American life and culture: among her most cherished finds was a bill-of-sale for an enslaved woman named Rose. Patsy was as calm and stoic in her illness as she had been in her many years of good health. At home with her son and his family, her response to “How are you?” remained “Doing nicely! Doing nicely!” Patsy is survived by her son Wade Wayne, Jr., his wife Angela; grandchildren Wade Wayne Perry, III, Christian Smith and Alexis Smith; and great-granddaughter Skylar Perry; cousins Edward “Brother” Faison, (wife Vera), and Martha Oates; second cousin Emily “Phyllis” Curtis (husband David). Left to cherish her memory also, are her brother-in-law Gordon Perry and great-niece Zoe Bass. Arthrell Dupree Sanders, Linda Kerr Norflett, Louise Maynar, and many other friends, colleagues, and former students will hold her close as well. Services to celebrate the life of Dr. Patsy Brewington Perry will be as follows: -Public viewing on Friday, November 19, 2021 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at Scarborough & Hargett Celebration of Life Center, Inc., 309 N Queen Street, Durham, North Carolina 27701. -Homegoing Service, Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Joseph AME Church, 2521 Fayetteville Street, Durham, North Carolina 27707, with viewing thirty minutes prior to the service. The Homegoing Service for Dr. Patsy Brewington Perry will be streamed live via the St. Joseph AME Church's website at https://www.stjosephame.org/ Interment will be held at Beechwood Cemetery, 3300 Fayetteville Street, Durham, North Carolina 27707.
Dr. Patsy Brewington Perry, daughter of the late James C. and Rosa Kirby Brewington, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 17, 1933. At an early age, she moved with her parents to Clinton, North Carolina, where she attended school,... View Obituary & Service Information
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