Robert Perry

December 27, 1949 ~ June 22, 2019 (age 69)

It is with profound sadness that the family of Robert Gerard Perry of Greenfield, MA, announces his passing, at home, on Saturday, June 22, 2019. Bobby was born in Greenfield, MA on Tuesday, December 27, 1949. He was the son of the late Gerard and Carolyn (Parker) Perry.

He graduated from Frontier Regional School in 1969 and attended Greenfield Community College. He was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout and, as a result, throughout his life he was always very well prepared for anything. His first job was a paper route for The Greenfield Recorder, then during high school he was one of the original employees of Village Pizza in Greenfield. He drove an ice cream truck for Hood Ice Cream and then began work at Judd Wire. In his early thirties he became an avid cyclist and soon thereafter began competing in regional and national races. His job at Judd Wire allowed him the opportunity to leave work at 3 p.m. and spend his afternoons training for his races. He was a member of several teams, including the Cyclonauts, the Yaegermen, and he cofounded the Northeast Road Masters. In 1993, he realized his longtime dream of opening a bike shop. Until his death, he owned and operated Bicycles and Skis Unlimited in Greenfield.

In 1982, he married the love of his life, the former Mary Ellen Ciborowski, who had been a member of his high school graduating class. They were a true partnership, supporting each other’s interests and raising their son, Michael. Together they traveled all around the USA to bike races, to the beaches of Cape Cod and Florida, and to London and Paris, always having a grand adventure andlots of fun along the way.

Throughout his life, he believed that one should always help other people. He was a Big Brother, a single foster parent, a mentor to many, a volunteer for many organizations, including DARE, the Franklin County Bikeway Committee, the Montague Mug Race, the Greenfield Road Race, the Greenfield Triathlon, and Wheeling for Healing. He was a tireless volunteer to anyone who asked for help designing course routes and promoting cycling events. He supported many cycling programs, including at The Bement School, Deerfield Academy, Northfield Mount Hermon and Eaglebrook School. In addition to operating his bike shop, he organized group bike rides on five days of the week, taking beginners, as well as top level riders, on rides all over Western Mass, southern Vermont and New Hampshire. He was always willing to share his enthusiasm for cycling with new riders, encouraging and coaching them along the way. He could change a flat tire faster than anyone. He knew the name of every back road and dirt road, and could tell you precisely how far the ride would be and how long it would take. His nightly ride reports, recapping the details of the ride, were masterpieces reflecting the grit and wit of the group rides. Bike Bob, as he was known, persistently nicknamed and re-nicknamed people, places, and things, including his bicycles, his ride routes, his automobiles, his wife, his family members, and his friends.

From an early age, his life was filled with adventure and challenges. While sledding with his two younger sisters at the age of five, he slid into a barbed wire fence and ended up with 50 stiches in his neck and a week in the hospital to fight off tetanus. In his early teens, he broke his armand then fell out of bed and broke it again, requiring a surgical third break to reset the arm. He fell while skiing and was run over by his sister, slicing open his leg. Once he became a competitive cyclist, his crashes and other cycling mishaps were legendary, yet he rarely dropped out of a race after a crash. At the age of 63, he was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma and after major brain surgery, was back on his bike within weeks and, with the support of his cycling friends who stayed by his side, he recovered. He severed his Achilles tendon while mountain biking at the age of 68 and after a surgical repair, he recovered to ride once again.

Bobby and Mary Ellen had an extraordinarily large group of friends, many from his cycling life, who supported him through his recoveries and through his final struggle. That support was deeply appreciated by Bob and his entire family.

Bobby’s greatest loves were his wife, his son and wife, and his grandsons. Beyond them he was a loyal and beloved brother, in-law, uncle, and friend. He was a close companion to his late dogs, Madison and Eddie.

In addition to his cycling, he loved watching the Boston Bruins and the Red Sox, the Tour de France, or any other bike race, he was inexplicably able to correctly answer nearly every question on Jeopardy, and could barbeque with the best of them. After his son Mike married a British woman and settled in England, he and Mary Ellen grew their family and friend connections there. On their many visits to see Mike, Kristy, and the boys and the entire Hartnell extended family, they enjoyed the many infamous pub crawls.

Bobby is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen;his son Michael, his wife, Kristy Hartnell, and their children, Felix and Theo, of Bristol, England; his brother Dana, of Boxborough, MA; his sisters Kathryn of Amherst, Penelope and Patricia of Greenfield, and Jean Greene of Richmond, VA. He is lovingly remembered by his brother-in-law Michael Ciborowski and his wife Barbara; his sisters-in-law, Joan Ralston and her husband Paul, Monica Brito, Helen Kittridge and her companion, David Mako; and many special nieces, including Amy Wood and Kate Williams, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents, Gerard and Carolyn Perry, his brothers Maurice and Richard, and his sister Donna.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be directed in Bob’s honor to Wheeling for Healing, C/O Baystate Health Foundation, 280 Chestnut Street, Springfield, MA 01199. Those friends who are cyclists, runners, or walkers, are encouraged to join Bob Perry’s Team and participate in the Wheeling For Healing ride, run, or walk on August 25, 2019. Visit www.baystatehealth. org/wheelingforhealing to sign up.

For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome. com.

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