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2013-07-18

Mildred Joy Gowen Perry

1925-2013

Born as a twin to Frank Gowen and Ola Swayze Gowen Nov. 18, 1925, in San Antonio, Joy Perry, 87, passed away Tuesday, June 18.

Joy is survived by her children Joe E. "Spike" and Cheri Perry of Bulverde; daughter-in-law Celia Miller of Bandera; Jack and Susie Moseley of Bandera; and Frank "Pancho" Perry of Austin. Her surviving grandchildren are Kim and David Arellano of San Antonio; Janie Perry of San Antonio; Sarah Perry of New York City, New York; Kelly and Brett Emmons of San Antonio; Chad and Renee Moseley of Bandera; and Clint and Jennifer Moseley of Katy. Her great-grandchildren include Everett Emmons, Cory and Kyle Moseley.

Joy is also survived by her siblings, Mary Kathryn "Kat" Shaw of Kingsland, Margie Utz of Seguin, Virginia "Jenna" Montague of Bandera, Paul Gowen of San Antonio and Charlene "Bebe" Jaeckle of Seguin, as well as by a multitude of other relatives.

Joy was predeceased by her husband of 65 years, Joe Perry, of San Antonio; son Paul A. "Butch" Perry of Bandera; and siblings, Elizabeth Cole of Coronado, Californi, and James Gowen of San Antonio.

Along with her seven siblings, Joy was raised in San Antonio, attended Brackenridge High School, married Joe Perry and worked at Lasso Western Wear for many years.

Though a native of San Antonio native, her ties to Bandera County remained strong. Her sister, Jenna, married Frank Montague Jr. during World War II and has resided in Bandera County since the war's conclusion. Joy and her family spent countless hours visiting, fishing and helping on Montague Ranch.

Joy's son, Butch Perry, and his then-wife, Celia, lived in Bandera for many years. The couple raised their daughter, Kelly Perry, in Bandera County. Joy and her son Spike owned a vacation home on Medina Lake. Her daughter, Susie Perry, married Jack Moseley. The couple still reside on the Moseley Ranch in Bandera County where Joy chose to live out the last few years of her life.

She loved to fish, cook, entertain, shop, travel and offer her legendary service to a vast number of friends and family. Back in the days of Montague Ranch Resort, guests were disappointed to find that Joy was absent from her role as El Jefe. Frank and Jenna put her in charge of everything and everyone and Joy blessed all who crossed her path.

Known to many as "Joy Love," she was just that - a love filled with laughter and joy. Her sweet fun-loving nature enabled her to collect friends of all ages and from all walks of life. Joy loved to laugh, giggle and cut up. Her inherent talent to put people at ease - and then have them open up to her - was uncanny.

Above all, Joy was a great listener. Her honest approach to life gave her an ability to deliver her disagreements with a smile. She would often laugh affably and, with a toss of hands, say, "Wrong!"

Joy could certainly cook up a storm, becoming renowned for hashing up mouthwatering Mexican delicacies such as Menudo, Enchiladas, Ranchero Sauce and all things grilled. For years, she manned the kitchen for groups at the dude ranch, lunch for the hands, private parties, family occasions and holidays. Joy was always behind the scenes, ensuring that all things went smoothly. Recently, a friend of the family remarked, "I think that I never saw her out of the kitchen."

Beloved by her immediate family, Joy often kept friends and the rest of family apprised of family's comings and goings - always sharing her love of them and how proud she was of them. Her grandchildren remained always in the forefront of her mind. She loved spending time with them.
They all called her "Granny." One time, as Joy walked about a million miles readying everything for a large crew, she grunted with every step and with every pan hefted. Her grandchildren immediately dubbed her "Granny Grunts." The moniker stuck and many family members called her that for years.

Joy traveled with her sisters to many locales. While planning for each trip, the ladies would meet at one another's homes. Everyone considered the planning as much fun as the trips themselves! When the sisters often met at Bebe's house on Lake LBJ, a neighbor commented that their laughter could be heard across the lake.

As a lover of fishing, Joy, with fearless tenacity, would launch a full out crusade to land whatever was biting. And, she never allowed a little thing like not knowing how to swim deter her. After one torrential deluge in Bandera, Joy had all the kids grab fishing poles and fish down the hill below the swimming pool on Montague Lake. In short order, one of her nephews had something on his line so heavy that he couldn't turn the reel. Joy simply hollered for him to just run up the hill. He landed a nine-pound bass! Her excitement was contagious!

It was with that same courageous determination that Joy survived breast cancer in the 1990s, rarely complaining. If asked how she was feeling, she simply replied, "Oh, not so shiney."

As she embraced life, Joy's intrinsic mettle carrying her through difficult times. She showed that same spirit when diagnosed with lung cancer last fall - positively resolute that she would beat it.

Joy immediately began treatments, but eventually succumbed to complications of ischemic bowels. After hearing that hospice was in order, she had only two requests - first, that everyone wear red to her funeral and second, that only Mariachi music be played.

One of Joy's greatest loves was Mariachi music. Favorite memories include her running to the dance floor calling out her resplendent greetas as the Los Gringos struck up "Jalisco" or "Rancho Grande." Or, perhaps her sashaying, swinging her hips and doing her two-finger groovies to Freddy Fender's "Since I Met You Baby." A more recent indelible memory is one of watching and listening to her twin, Paul, lovingly strum his guitar while singing - ever so softly - at her bedside.

On June 22, a celebration of Joy's life was held at Mission Park South in San Antonio. With many friends and her enormous family gathered all in red, Father George Montague in his vestments and Paul strapped on their guitars and played and sang many of her favorite songs. Joy's nephew Bill Gowen played the bongos and Ron Knuth accompanied on the violin. The selections "Las Mananitas," "Jalisco," "Rancho Grande," "Adelta," "Cielito Lindo," "La Golondrina" and "La Barca de Oro" provided a backdrop as everyone departed the service.

Truly Joy was well loved and had given freely of herself.

Paul especially shared the great love he felt for his "wombmate" and their special bond they had for 87 years.

Significantly, he led the congregation through the canciones, often smiling as if lifting Joy's spirit.

Father George identified her life of service as similar to that of Jesus, noting that Joy had shared love with her friends and family by happily serving them. Her daughter-in-law, now Celia Miller of Bandera, called Joy "the love her life."

Niece Judy Goertz of Canyon Lake spoke of how she envisioned Joy standing at the Pearly Gates on one leg with the other bent at the knee, one hand placed on her head and other hand on her hip while singing "A Pretty Girl" to Saint Peter, Indeed, heaven is a little more joyful with Joy's presence.