A man who learned the power of persistent prayer from beating cancer is the Knights of Columbus Council 6168 September Knight of the Month.
“Wayne Perry can always be depended on to step up when he’s needed,” Council 6168 Grand Knight John Uva said. “He generally works behind the scenes and doesn’t seek the front window.”
Perry is a hospitality minister at 6 p.m. Saturday vigil Masses at Our Lady of Grace Church in Beverly Hills, helps at Knights of Columbus bingo and other charity activities, and serves on two teams that advance men in the Knights of Columbus organization.
“I like to be helpful and work with people,” Perry said.
It is a perspective he attributes to his mother. “She taught us to be kind, to be charitable and to pay back people who’ve done right,” Perry said.
Thirty years ago, Perry was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and given a year to live. Persistent prayer, day in and day out, particularly by his late-wife, Doris, chemotherapy, a good diet and a book on positive thinking were keys to his survival, Perry said.
Doris died in May 2016 after over 52 years of marriage, leaving Wayne, two daughters and a son. Daughter Diane lives in Beverly Hills; Cheryl Ann, in Nashville, Tennessee; and Douglas, in Manalapan, New Jersey.
Doris and Wayne were snowbirds alternating between the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and a home in Lakeside Village. In 2004, they built a new house and moved permanently to Fairview Estates in Citrus Hills where he still resides. Since Doris’ death, Perry has continued meetings with a bereavement group associated with VITAS Hospice of Citrus County.
Perry is an avid golfer; he plays four to five times a week and maintains a better-than-14 handicap. He continues to help plan tournaments at his old Lakeside golf course.
Originally from Long Branch, New Jersey, Perry, 77, spent his last 25 working years in sales and management with Tenneco’s Monroe Shocks and Struts. He majored in economics and business at King’s College and remembers well his friendship with some of the holy cross fathers who were faculty there.
“I learned that priests are real people, just like us,” Perry said, fondly remembering his college days in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.