U.S. Olympic athlete Mary Perry, 69, passed away in Medford, Ore., June 4, 2012. She died at home of the rare disease, multiple system atrophy.
Mary was born in Burbank, Calif., in 1943. Her passion for volleyball began when she enrolled in Pierce Junior College and grew after she formed the South California volleyball team, the Renegades.
In 1963, Mary was chosen for the Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pan Am Games U.S. Women's Volleyball Team, and won team gold. She went on to compete in two Olympiads, 1964 in Tokyo, and 1968 in Mexico City.
After graduating from Cal State Northridge with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1971, Mary taught and coached in Honolulu and at Cal State Hayward, where she earned her master's degrees in P.E. and Education. Mary moved to Ashland, Ore., in 1986, and assisted coaching women's volleyball at Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University). She received her third master's degree in psychology from S.O.S.C. and coached senior citizens in fitness through Elderhostel. She produced the acclaimed fitness video, "Early Morning Stretch" and worked with geriatric patients through Jackson County Mental Health until her retirement in 2002.
In 2009, Mary was awarded the Flo Hyman All-Time Great Player Award and was inducted into the U.S. Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Mary is survived by her three brothers, Irv, Doug, and Charles Perry, and their families; and by her partner of 33 years, Sue Schilling. A celebration of Mary's life is planned for the fall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice in Ashland or to the Humane Society. Refer to the Hillcrest Memorial Park website www.hillcrestmortuary.com for a more detailed obituary.