GARDINER - Col. William A. Perry, Jr. 87, of Gardiner., United States Army retired, passed away April 17, 2019 at Gray Birch Rehabilitation Center in Augusta, Maine.\r\n\r\nCol. Perry was born in his beloved Hallowell, Maine to William A. Perry Sr and Carolyn (Whittier) Perry. \r\n\r\nHe graduated from Hallowell High School, Class of “49” where he was active in baseball and basketball as well as the minstrel show, the Hokey Pokey. He was a talented dancer from childhood who loved to jitterbug with his “bride” Joyce. After graduating from UMaine in 1953 with a degree in education and an ROTC training, he married his childhood girlfriend, Joyce Arata on March 27, 1953.\r\n\r\nCol. Perry served his country in the US Army beginning in 1953 through 1958 with stops in Korea, Texas, and Massachusetts. He continued his career in the National Guard from 1958 until retirement in 2000. In September of 1958, he began a teaching career at Winslow High School in the English department. While there he helped with musical productions, athletic events and cherished the time he spent with his students. After teaching at Winslow he went into the National Guard, full time, with stops in Kentucky, the Pentagon and Maine. He is remembered as a strict but fair commandant of the officer candidate school at the Maine Military Academy located on “the hill” in Augusta. He was extremely proud of the fact that he trained the first female officer at OCS and he was instrumental in acquiring the military tank that continues to stand guard over “the hill.” The military was his calling but his “beautiful bride” and his family was his source of pride.\r\n\r\nWhile living the past 50 years in Gardiner, “Willie” served his community on various volunteer committees that included the city planning board, delivering Meals on Wheels and the Day on the Common. He was a Maine state high school track official, was involved with the Gardiner High School Music Boosters and helped with the GAHS “Ho" show. His interests included Big Band music, sports, gardening, reading, telling jokes that most people did not understand and following his children athletic careers. He was never without a story; his trivia recollection was legendary, and he was always ready for a political debate. Willie and Joyce enjoyed trips to Florida, Las Vegas, South Carolina, New York and the Grand Canyon, eating out, singing and dancing. \r\n\r\n He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Joyce, his son John and his daughter Karen along with his beloved grandchildren Kyle and Sierra. His extended family includes his mother-in-law, Avis Millett, sister-in-law Shirley Arata and several nieces, nephews and cousins.\r\n \r\nThe Perry family would like to thank the staff at Gray Birch for passionate care and Androscoggin Hospice Care, especially Doreen, Holly and Michelle, for their unending support, many hours of devotion, which was a source of immense pleasure to Col. Perry over the past months.\r\n\r\nVisiting hours will be held on Tuesday, April 23, from 4:00 to 6:00pm, at Staples Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, where a funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 24th, at 11:00am. A full Military burial will take place at the Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mt. Vernon Road, Augusta, on Friday, April 26th, at 9:00am. \r\n\r\nArrangements are in the care of Staples Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine.Condolences, memories and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the Staples Funeral Home website: familyfirstfuneralhomes.com \r\n\r\n In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Androscoggin Hospice Care at 15 Strawberry Ave., Lewiston,Maine.