Frank Joseph “Bo” Perry

BAR HARBOR — Frank Joseph “Bo” Perry, 84, died peacefully on Jan. 8, 2010. Frank was born in New London, Conn. on March 9, 1925, the eldest son of 16 children and one stepbrother.

After graduating from New London High School, Frank went into the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and he became a belly gunner on a B24J Liberator Bomber. Frank and the crew of Bomber 68 made many flights into German held territories on bombing missions. On one mission, Frank and the bombardier of the plane had to go out on the catwalk in the open bomb bay and kick free a stuck bomb so the flight could make a safe landing at the base. On Frank’s 20th birthday, March 9, 1945, his plane went down in Zarda, Yugoslavia. The crew and plane were found at the same time the Air Corps sent out the “missing in action” letter to his mother. Frank was awarded the prestigious Army Air Force Air Medal as well as other service awards. The young sergeant was then stationed at Dow Air Force base where he met the love of his life, Helmi Paakki, on a blind date. They were married in September 1949, and they settled in Pittsfield, Maine.


Frank was a man of many talents and worked hard all his life. He loved his Coca-Cola and when he got a job driving a Pepsi truck he had to hide his passion for Coke – eventually he left the job to drive an oil truck. Then Frank became a handstitcher for Dexter Shoe Company. Frank’s greatest accomplishment was starting the Dexter Shoe Credit Union which eventually became the Dexter Regional Federal Credit Union – all this with Helmi at his side. He loved being outdoors hunting, fishing, and especially playing golf with his buddies. There was always activity at the Perrys’ household, with friends young and old around the pool table where he picked up the nickname of “Fingers at the Rail.”

Frank is survived by his three children, Karen Perry and her partner Stephen Keiser, Frank Perry, and Mark Perry; their four grandchildren, Amanda Stitham and her husband Erich, Morgan Perry, Alex Perry and Erin Perry; four great-grandchildren, Joshua Perry, Julia and Nicholas Stitham and newly arrived Braden Ricker. He is also survived by his brothers Robert Perry, Herbert Perry, James Perry, William Perry; sisters Helena Ilvento, Ann Winn, Alice Anderson, Gail Havey, and Marcella McEwen.

Frank was predeceased by his loving wife Helmi; his stepbrother Albert Perry; and sisters Marie Lott, Francis Branzell and Columbia Hart.

There will be a celebration of Frank and Helmi’s lives at a later date.

The family would like to thank the staff of Birch Bay Village for all their compassion and care of their beloved father.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Helmi & Frank Perry Scholarship Fund at the Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 233, Dexter ME, 04930.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 48 Eden St., Bar Harbor ME.

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