Wednesday afternoon, former Perry Elementary teacher and current Perry School Board member Marjean Gries passed away at Unity Point Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines at the age of 64.
Gries graduated from Perry in 1970, and after getting her college degree at Northwest Missouri State, she had the distinction of being Perry Elementary’s first ever full-time physical education teacher. She taught for 34 years, all in Perry, and retired in 2010. However, she didn’t stay away long, as she had been serving on the Perry School Board for the last four years.
Lori Seeley taught alongside Gries for 22 years, and describes her friend and coworker with great affection. “Kind, compassionate, caring. She loved competition. She wanted kids to be the best they could be. We wanted our kids to walk out of our classroom feeling better than before they walked in. We wanted them to show sympathy and empathy towards others; to follow the rules — she was a rule-follower, not a rule breaker; to play within the boundaries; to be a team player, and help others when they were down or hurt or not doing well; and being leaders, we tried to build leadership in all our children.”
Seeley added, she’ll take one piece of advice Gries gave her as a way to always remember her. “Just be compassionate for each other. Care for one another.” Superintendent Lynn Ubben released a statement saying the school was saddened by Marjean’s death, and asked people to keep the Gries family in their prayers. Funeral services will be held in the Perry High School gymnasium on Sunday at 2 p.m.