by Mary Brocato
The 2019 Honorary Grand Marshal of the Many Christmas Parade on Dec.21 is a woman who is involved in her church and community, has a career, and is a loving wife, mother and grandmother.
Mary Collier Perry is known and loved by almost everyone in Many because of her involvement and work throughout the Many community. The story of her life is an inspiring one.
Mary Perry was born in Florien, the daughter of a minister, Rev. Lee Collier and his wife Rachel. Except for a time when she lived in Shreveport, she’s been a lifelong resident of Sabine Parish.
Ms. Perry was a graduate of Florien High School in 1974. She then attended Ayers School of Business in Shreveport where her major was in business technology. She completed her studies and graduated.
Soon after , Mary married Galvin Cary. The couple had four daughters: Sharonda Cary, Tracey Gosey, Kristle Cary and Gabrielle Cary.
After a divorce, Mary moved to Many in 1995. Her first job in Many was at Kentucky Fried Chicken. After working there for a few years, Mary was named manager. Sometime later, the fast food restaurant closed down because of the owner’s death.
Mary found herself without a job. She started a job search and walked into the Many Ford dealership looking for work. Gene Smith, the owner, hired her immediately. Mary says Smith told her, “If you can sell chicken, then you can sell cars. You have a wonderful, outgoing personality and a beautiful smile.That will go far in your career in auto sales.“ Mary worked at the Ford dealership for Smith until it closed in 2008. That first job in car sales was the start of her career in the automobile sales industry.
Mary then went to work for Natchitoches Ford dealership but did not enjoy the commute each day. When she had the chance, Mary returned to Many to work for Foy Chevrolet where she has worked ever since.
Mary Perry loves working with the public. She is active in her church and in several community organizations and groups.
Perry was recently elected President of the Many Rotary Club. Her election marks the first time an African American woman has been elected to that position. Her ascension to the presidency was rapid as she joined Rotary only four years ago in 2015.
Perry says she was drawn to Rotary because of its international stance on polio. When she was only five years old, she had a light case of polio. The family doctor sent Mary to the LSU Hospital in Shreveport where she spent eight months until she was pronounced cured.
Mary says polio is something no child should ever have to endure when a vaccine is available to prevent a child fromcontracting the disease. She is looking forward to helpingRotary raise money to keep this dreaded disease at bay.
Mary is a member of several boards. including the Councilon Aging,the rotary board of directors, Project Celebration, the Many Zoning Board, Many’s Christmas Festival Committee.
She’s also a member of the RedLand Baptist Church where the pastor is Moderator Donny Edmondson who was honored in 2018 at the Sabine Parish Hall of Fame. Mary is also the church’s secretary and a Sunday School teacher for the youth.
Mary has a large family. She is the wife of Bobby Perry, and she is the grandmother of eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. She has one brother, Robert Collier.
Our 2019 Christmas Parade honorary grand marshal sums up her life in this way. “I love my family and my community. But first I love God and I will always honor and cherish him. I pray that God will bless me to see many, many more years to help my family, my church, and my community.”
The Town of Many , Mayor Ken Freeman, and the Many City Council are proud to have
Mary Perry as the Honorary Grand Marshal of the 2019 Christmas Parade.