William “Perry” Blessing was born April 5, 1926 in Ardmore, South Dakota to Loyd Franklin and Sylvia Pearl Eckard Blessing. Perry, along with his 3 sisters and 3 brothers, grew up in the Ardmore / Hot Springs area of South Dakota.
A favorite story of Perry was how he would ditch school when he was a young boy. He would go to the outhouse and then sneak off on his horse and head home. When he’d get home, he’d double over with pain. His mother caught on to his “sickness” and gave him cod liver oil to help his “stomach pain”. He says that he really didn’t like school.
Perry worked as a logger in the hills until World War II when he enlisted in the Army. During his time in the war Perry was part of the China Burma India Theater. He helped to build the Leo Road going over the Himalayan Mountains. Perry returned home to South Dakota after the war. Another story Perry would tell is when he returned home from serving in the war he needed to have an appendectomy, but, because he was not yet 21 he had to wait for his mother to arrive to the hospital to sign the okay for the surgeon to operate.
On June 5, 1948 Perry married Della “Bernice” Maple. They had three children; Judy, Linda and Vern. They lived in South Dakota where Perry continued to log until 1970 when they moved to Riverton, Wyoming. Perry worked for US Energy until 1992. At that time, he and Bernice retired to Hot Springs, SD. Bernice passed away in 2003. Together they were loving and supportive parents to their 3 children, and loved and spoiled 8 grand children and 17 great grandchildren.
Perry moved to Elko, NV in 2012 to live with his son. Perry’s health declined and while in Elko became a resident at Highland Manor where he was cared for until his death. Perry was 94 at the time of his passing on Sunday, August 23, 2020.
Perry was preceded in death by his parents, wife Bernice, brothers Hugh, Dale and Keith, sisters Blanche and Ruby, daughter Judy and granddaughter Bethany.
He is survived by his sister Edna of Nebraska, daughter Linda (Dixon) Hall, son Vern (Julie) Blessing, and grandchildren: Jeff (Tammy) Hall, Terri (Matt) Knighten, BriAnne (Jeff) Loughary, Kristi Michels, Staci (Josh) Sawvell, Alex (Rosie) Blessing and Megan (James) Stout. Great grandchildren: Scott, Kyle, and Brett Knightern, Aaron, Becca and Tyler Hall, Weston, Waylon and Holley Michels, Dallas Hall-Sawvell, Allison and Benjamin Loughary, Andrew, Alyson, Austin and Arlen Blessing and Mackenzie Stout.
Having Perry here with us in Elko was a true blessing. It was a joy to sit with Perry and hear stories of his childhood, the war and especially, his family. As he stated to me many times over the years, and again just recently, “I hope I provided my family a good life.” I think the answer to that would be a resounding “Yes!” We are truly blessed for having such a wonderful friend, dad, grandpa and father-in-law in our lives.
Perry’s request was to be cremated. No services will be held at this time.