Vivian Francis Perry 1933-2022

Vivian Francis Perry was born on March 28, 1933 at the family farm in DeNova, Colorado to Eva and Vivian Perry. Three older brothers and three older sisters welcomed him into the home. His parents lived in a sod house about 20 miles south of Otis.
During his early childhood, he attended school at Hi Prairie School a few miles from his home. All 12 grades were under one roof. The school did not have water, so Francis and his siblings were responsible for carrying water to school to drink. Francis played basketball at Hi Prairie, and the school only had one basketball and a gas lantern gym. When the school needed a new ball, a hat would be passed for donations to purchase one.
When he was a small boy, his parents raised a lot of sheep. Francis’s job was to herd the sheep to keep the coyotes and predators away. He was faithful with his job for being such a young child. He worked on the farm with his father while growing up. He loved his childhood and community. Francis graduated from Hi Prairie in 1950.
In the summer of 1951, Francis attended a Nazarene Church youth camp in Rye, Colorado. While at youth camp, he met his future wife, Coeta McCasland, on June 23, which was just shy of 71 years prior to his passing. Francis and Coeta dated for two years before marrying. They had a beautiful wedding at the Church of the Nazarene in Yuma, Colorado on April 5, 1953. The Korean War was in full swing at the time, and while on their honeymoon, they called home and heard the difficult news that Francis had been drafted and would have to report for military service on May 15th. This saddened their honeymoon days, but they were determined to make the best of things. Their future looked very bleak, but they could only imagine how wonderful life would actually turn out.
On the 15th of May, Coeta took Francis to the train station in Akron at 5:30 in the morning, bid him goodbye, and returned to his family’s home, where they had been residing since the wedding, to gather her belongings. Coeta then drove to the home of her parents north of Schram where she would reside while he was away. One of her fondest memories was her parents coming to her car when she drove into the driveway to console her.
Francis was shipped to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he became a member of the Army’s 826th Engineer Aviation Battalion. After six weeks, Coeta called him to say she was coming to Missouri to be with him. Despite him telling her not to come because his sergeant said so, she went anyway. One of her good friends from high school had a husband there, too, so the two ladies traveled together. Coeta was able to visit Francis for a couple of hours each evening on the base. When he was off duty on weekends, they had more time. Coeta lived at the hotel in Bellville, Missouri. She soon was asked to work at the front desk to check people in and out. As an army wife, Coeta received $93 per month, so it is easy to see why working at the hotel helped out. Francis only received $33 per month from the Army. During this time, soldiers were being sent right and left to the front lines of Korea. They wondered what their future might be. When soldiers were told that they would have to go to Korea, they were given the chance to visit their home before heading overseas. Coeta drove many military wives from the hotel where she worked to the troop train, where they traveled home with their husbands before their husbands departed a few days later.
At one point, the army considered sending Francis to the Bahamas. Francis and Coeta wondered why. They still worried about where he might be sent. One night, Francis returned to the hotel to say he had taken tests and was being stationed in Goose Bay, Labrador to build airstrips with heavy equipment. Francis and Coeta were two happy people. Prior to being sent to Labrador, Francis was selected as a member of Scarwaf (a special category of thee U.S. Army and Air Force)and would be carrying out responsibilities associated with this post.
Francis was flown to Labrador where he built airstrips during the war. He operated big yard shovels, rock crushers, and other machinery to help construct these airstrips. Seven months and 14 days later, Coeta received a call that Francis was landing in Westover Field, Massachusetts. He would be returning to Walters Air Force Base in Mineral Wells, Texas. A few days before Thanksgiving, he would ride the bus on Highway 36 from Denver. Coeta was to meet him South of Otis on the highway. The bus stopped, here came her soldier, walking strong and tall. What an exciting day for both of them. After Thanksgiving, Francis returned to Walters Air Force Base again. When he visited home during Christmas, he took Coeta back to the base with him for the remainder of his service. The couple shared an apartment in Texas. On May 15, 1955, Francis was honorably discharged from the United States Army. He had served his time for a country that he dearly loved.
Francis and Coeta returned back to his family farm, where they lived until March of the next year. They then leased a farm southwest of Akron where they spent six years. During this time, all four of their children were born, Rodney Kent in 1956, Pamela Sue in 1958, Richard Kevin in 1960, and Peggy Lou in 1962.
In November 1961, the Perry’s purchased a farm south of Otis. The farm had not been lived on for many years and was in need of a new home. This was not a problem, as Francis was a master at carpentry work and set out to build the perfect house to raise a family. In December 1961, although the house was not entirely finished, they moved into the garden-level basement of their home with their small children, the youngest of which was only six weeks old. Their home was completed as they had time and funds to do so, and they eventually moved into the upstairs portion on Christmas Eve, 1974. Francis and Coeta resided in this home for the rest of their life together.
In 1963, with the assistance of many neighbors, the Perry’s started building a picture window parlor barn for their dairy business. It was completed, and they purchased their first herd of dairy cows a few months after. Later, they purchased a second herd. Soon,, they milked 120 cows. They also farmed. As time passed, Francis, Coeta, and their family acquired more and more farmland, eventually farming as far away as Joes, Colorado. They came to own five irrigated quarters and rented several other irrigated circles, along with some dryland. They were kept busy dairying and farming. In 1975, after reaching a difficult decision, they sold their dairy herd and focused on farming. In 1979, various hailstorms destroyed many circles of their crops. Earlier assurance from the bank that insurance was not necessary due to the widespread locations of their fields had proven inaccurate. Low yields on the hailed land led to financial struggles that were difficult to recover from over the years.
Despite this hardship, the couple remained resilient and kept farming while also continuing the custom harvesting business that had been started a few years prior where they harvested wheat and chopped silage for local neighbors and farmers, eventually working for people as far away as Texas and Montana. Through their travels, they made many great friends. In his off season, Francis drove a beet truck for Aulick and transported sugar beets from the piles in many towns to the factory in Fort Morgan.
Francis Perry’s legacy is one of building. He helped build everything from cabinets and houses to even a dental office in his daughter Pam’s house. But the physical things that Francis built pale in comparison to the family he built alongside Coeta. Family was his first priority, and his hands were always busy making a living to support those he loved. He rose early and retired late every day to fulfill his many roles. Francis was a servant of other people for the entirety of his life, as well as a servant of God.
From watching his grandchildren play sports to being there when they showed fair animals, rode calves, and competed in tractor pulls, Francis was always proud of their accomplishments.
Whether relaxing while watching the Broncos play football or the Rockies during baseball season. Francis had an unrivaled fondness for sports. This love was second only to his family. It was difficult to get him to come to dinner if he was watching the game when the food was ready, so Coeta became accustomed to having to call for him repeatedly. He always got there eventually!
Throughout his 89 years, Francis held many titles, from being a member of the U.S. Army to becoming a patriarch, family man, carpenter, dairyman, farmer, rancher, custom harvester, sugar beet truck driver, and, most importantly, a man of God. He toiled diligently in this life and has left a profound impact on the world. The 69 years of marriage to Coeta show what a loyal husband and positive example he was. His enormous family will miss his presence at the table and his signature prayers before meals. Francis knew Jesus, and the family looks forward to being reunited in Heaven with him one day.
Francis is preceded in death by his parents, Vivian and Eva Perry, and several siblings, including Evelyn Crowfoot, Wayne Perry, Gerald Perry, Rolland Perry, and Marlyn Perry. He is survived by his wife Coeta and four children, including Rodney Perry, Pamela Chaffee, Richard Perry, and Peggy Lou Pletcher, as well as his sisters, Darlene Young and Phyllis Campbell, along with 14 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
Grandchildren include Jennison Perry, Tara Ayon, Judith Horinek, Gerald Gallentine, James Gallentine, Joseph Gallentine, Raphiel Jolliffe, Perry Chaffee, Chandra Dix, Charity Chaffee, Preston Chaffee, Andrew Perry, Jacob Perry, Landan Schaffert, Anthonya Kahrs, Antonya Schaffert, Landston Schaffert, and Anthoneya Schaffert.
Great grandchildren include Huntley Perry, Brooks Perry, Fletcher Perry, Sebastian Sandoval, Savannah Sandoval, Jaycellia Perry, Kaycelynn Perry, Layceiara Perry, Aiden Horinek, Royce Dix, Raleigh Dix, Carina Dix, Reuben Dix, Orchid Chaffee, Addison Chaffee, Juliette Chaffee, Lincoln Perry, Waylon Kahrs, and Katelyn Kahrs.