It was a nice service today, but I had hoped that the pastor would read the eulogy written about Marion. It was included in the program, but I had hoped the service was more about her.
Marion Adelaide Penny Perrine
September 12, 1942 – July 3, 2013
A curly, redheaded girl named Marion was born on September 12, 1942 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Her parents, Ralph Penny and his wife, the former Eleanor Carlisle, welcomed their daughter with much joy.
Marion’s dad, Ralph, joined the US Marine Corps and was stationed in Virginia where he met Eleanor. He left the service before the start of WWII but worked as a civilian in the Naval Shipyard.
The young couple settled in Portsmouth and it didn’t take long for Marion to have her father wrapped around her finger – she admitted to and took pride in being a “daddy’s girl.”
After the war, the civilian jobs disappeared, so when Marion was seven, the family moved to Chicago, where her father had family and employment possibilities. The Chicago school system thought this young second-grader from the south had a speech impediment – it is officially known as a southern drawl. They forced her into speech therapy where she picked up a Midwestern accent on top of that drawl. She had a nice life in Chicago with many aunts, uncles and cousins. She remembered many family get-togethers playing cards and having fun.
For a very long time, Marion was an only child. Her parents wanted another child, but had trouble conceiving. After her mother had surgery, she was able to conceive, but sadly lost the baby girl she carried for six months. Prior to that, Marion was ambivalent to having siblings, but that loss made her realize she wanted a baby sister or brother.
In late 1954, when Marion was 12 years old, her mother became pregnant again. The family was also looking for a change of scenery due to those harsh Chicago winters.
Ralph had a sister in California that they had visited the year before, so in June of 1955, they headed west when Eleanor was eight months pregnant. They welcomed Marion’s first sibling, sister Sharon, another curly redhead in July 1955, whom Marion had named.
The family of four bought a house in a developing suburb of San Diego, El Cajon. In 1958, the family welcomed their first son, Marion’s curly redheaded brother Roger.
It was about this time that Marion went on a blind date that she was trying to cancel. She had a crush on a boy who had joined the service, and her mother told her she was too young to sit around and pine for some boy. She insisted that her daughter go on that date and have fun. Marion followed her mother’s instruction.
Marion always told the story of opening the front door when that date arrived, and she thought he was the most dreamy, blue-eyed blond guy she had ever seen. She swore she gasped when she saw him.
It was not long before Marion became a teenaged bride to that guy, Gerald Perrine, nicknamed Whitey.
That marriage was not supposed to last. She was too young. They didn’t know each other long enough. The odds were a million to one.
But last it did. Marion and Whitey had two sons: Jerry, born in 1959, and Robert, born in 1960.
Shortly after making her parents grandparents twice over, her mother discovered that she was pregnant again at the age of 41. Marion welcomed another baby sister, Lisa, a straight-haired redhead, born in 1962, who grew up as the younger aunt to her two boys.
Much to Marion’s delight, her husband Whitey and her father became the best of friends. Many of the family’s happiest memories were Saturday night at mom and dad’s house, barbecuing steak, playing cards and watching the guys play pool.
Marion and Whitey bought their first home together in El Cajon in 1973. That was a bittersweet year for the mom of two teenaged boys. The consummate homemaker was excited beyond belief to have her own house, but later that year, she lost her beloved father – something she never really got over.
Family was everything to Marion. When her older son married and made Marion a grandmother to Jeremiah, she was over the moon. Nobody ever loved a little boy more than Marion loved Jeremiah, until later when her next two grandsons arrived.
Her son, Bobby, married Cheryl Cooley in 1981, and Marion said from that day on, she finally had a daughter. Bobby and Cheryl gave her the gift of her first granddaughter, Jennifer, and Marion felt blessed to witness that birth.
Jerry remarried and brought another new daughter for Marion, Kimberly Hendrickson.
In 1987, Bobby and Cheryl gave birth to Marion’s grandson Daniel in April; Jerry and Kim gave birth to Jessica in August. Another son, Matthew, was born to Bobby and Cheryl in October of 1988; and then Jerry and Kim had another daughter, Michelle, born in 1991.
“Grandma” to these six children was Marion’s proudest role. She loved Jeremiah, Jennifer, Daniel, Jessica, Matthew and Michelle more than life itself. She made many memories for these children. She was the center of the family for many holiday and family events.
Soon, the grand kids grew up and started pairing off. Jeremiah became the father of Silas, Marion’s first great-grandchild. Matt married Emily in 2010, making Emily the newest granddaughter. They gave birth to Brayden in January of 2012, and then Maci May, who was born less than six weeks ago on May 27.
Besides being mother and grandmother, she was most thrilled to be that teenaged bride to that handsome, dreamy, blue-eyed blond guy. She was even more thrilled to be with him beyond her teenage years – for almost 55 years in total, creating a legacy of family and love. She loved her man, and he loved her. She knew she was blessed that she found someone who was such a good, kind, and decent person. Simply, she was happy. She was probably the happiest person anyone knew. She had a wonderful husband whom she adored, a loving family, a nice home and many friends.
Love is Marion’s legacy. At the end, she had so many people who went out of their way to show her their love. She gave love, and she received love. And for that, Marion was the richest person anyone could know.