Joss Perry

joss with mangoes

My son, Joss Perry, who has died suddenly aged 35, was a socialist and Labour party member, and his last job was an administrative one in the NHS. However, his real talent, evident from the number of people who attended his memorial event, was to make friends.

Joss was born in Leicester, went to school there and was about to complete a part-time history course at LeicesterUniversity. As an adult, he retained an appealing, childlike innocence, reflected in his love of steam trains.

All his friends had stories of his many accidents and close shaves, including one in which a late-night visit to A&E ended with Joss forgetfully walking off wearing his friend’s jacket, including the wallet he needed to get him home. He could also be a clown. In one childhood incident, he mimicked a matador in the aisle of a crowded Spanish commuter train, to the great amusement of the other passengers.

It was in Nicaragua, where I am based, that his ability to make friends came to the fore, when he stayed with me for more than a year in 2004 and met his wife, Xochilt, whom he married in 2006. He loved being in the town of Masaya, bumping into people, exchanging greetings in the street and using his pidgin Spanish. When challenged on his poor language skills he would use the Basil Fawlty defence: “I learned classical Spanish, not that strange dialect you seem to have picked up.”

More seriously, and typically, he found a volunteer job working in a school for disabled children, where he was immensely popular.

We last saw each other on the night that his football team, LeicesterCity, appeared to squander their promotion chances. That they almost recovered them would have delighted him.

Many of those who loved him arrived in Leicester, where he lived, to meet up within hours of his death. In Nicaragua it would have been a vela (wake). And it happened spontaneously, and out of doors, just as it would have done in Masaya.

He is survived by Xochilt, me, his mother, Janet, and his sisters, Fran and Rachel.

Note: a small memorial fund has been set up to sponsor a project in Masaya. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.  There is a post by one of Joss’s friends on the Pop Lifer blog here.

Original post: The Guardian

5 responses to “Joss Perry”

  1. John Perry

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

  2. Andrew Marsh

    I’m so sorry John, I’ve only just seen this. There’s little that I can say that will help at this point, but I do remember Joss very well from the few lifts that I gave him between Leicester and Coventry when he was doing work experience at CIH. He was very easy to talk to (for a teenager!), always full of humour, and particularly good at mimicking post-match interviews by Alan Shearer, Julian Joachim and other football luminaries of the mid 90s. He was also very proud of your work in housing.

  3. Isobel Anderson

    Hello John,

    My thoughts are also with you and your family. Do take care. Isobel.

  4. theresa mcdonagh

    Hi John,

    really sorry about your son’s death and your loss. My thoughts are with you.
    With sympathy and love,
    Theresa McDonagh

  5. Duncan Sim

    Hi John

    Isobel Anderson forwarded this to me – a bit of a shock. So sorry to read it. I’m sure that lots of your colleagues in the housing field are thinking of you and your family just now. My sympathies. Duncan