Bryce Perry ’69 passed away on June 2, 2020. He was 74 years old.
Bryce was born on January 27, 1946 in Duxbury, Massachusetts. His family moved to Albany NY, and Lewiston/Auburn ME before settling in Arlington MA. While in high school, Bryce was active in the chess club, did stop-motion photography, and published a newspaper called the Spectator.
At Antioch College in Ohio, Bryce was involved in the student-run fire department, including serving as engineer, responsible for two trucks and an ambulance. While at college, he married Frances Hamaker from Palo Alto CA. After graduation, they served in the Peace Corps, stationed in the town of Labasa in the Fiji Islands where they taught science and math at Sangam High School.
After some travel, they settled in Palo Alto. Bryce worked at SRI in the Molecular Physics lab, at Spectra Physics as a product manager, and at ILC Technologies, managing space station lighting. While at SRI, Bryce earned an MSEE degree at Stanford University.
In the 80s Bryce was active in the Palo Alto chess club and organized large chess tournaments. He was also active in the boy scouts, serving as Scout Master. After early retirement, he worked in IT, as a photographer, mentored a chess club at Gunn high school, square danced, and was learning to teach and call square dancing. Starting in 1999, he also enjoyed going to the Burning Man arts festival in Nevada more than a dozen times.
Bryce was active in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. Bryce served on the board of trustees and as president of the board. He founded and led men’s groups.
Bryce was preceded in death by his parents, John E. and Helen K. Perry of Arlington MA, his brother Fred Perry of MA and his sister Jana Born (James) of NH. He leaves his wife, Fran, two sons John (Julie) of San Diego and Michael of Palo Alto and three grandsons.
A memorial service on Zoom is scheduled for Sunday June 28. Contact Fran for more information.
Bryce died June 2, 2020. He was a member of El Camino Reelers in Palo Alto CA.
He discovered ECR when we were looking for an advanced class.
He loved the ECR Halloween party because he could dress as a woman. He had previously done that at Burning Man. His goal was that instead of seeing a man in drag, people would think what an ugly woman. He had shaved off his beard just for that purpose. People would dance with him without recognizing him.
At Palm Springs, Seattle, and Philadelphia, he really enjoyed convention. People may remember him for wearing a sling while he danced. Because of an old shoulder injury, he was protecting himself from pain that would come after a long day of dancing. He also used a whistle while dancing load the boat. Since he had trouble finding a beat in the music, he did not dance in time to the music but to his inner beat. He was proof that you don’t need to be able to dance to be able to square dance.
Bryce was learning to square dance and had been to GCA caller school. He found out it is a lot harder than it looks and was in awe of all callers.
Love to you all,
—Fran Perry, Bryce’s wife of 52 years
I regret to inform you that I have just learned that our longtime member Bryce Perry died today.
Bryce and his wife, Fran, joined El Camino Reelers in 2013 and have been members ever since. They were active both in the club as fellow dancers but also as angels for many different classes.
Attached is a copy of the email we received.
When more information about a memorial service or other information becomes available, we will share it with the club.
[Quote from email]
With great sorrow I must report that Bryce Perry died in the early hours of this morning of an apparent heart attack. His wife Fran and their son Michael were with him.
Michael and John grew up in this congregation, as did Fran herself. Fran and Bryce were married at the Unitarian Church of Palo Alto (as it was then named) in 1967, and it was our joy to celebrate their 50th anniversary in a recommitment ceremony here. We will hold a memorial service to celebrate and grieve this beloved soul when the family is able to confer and set a date.
— Eric Hudson, President, El Camino Reelers
Once again I am deeply saddened to report the passing of a local square dance friend. Bryce Perry was a member of the Stanford Quads, El Camino Reelers, and PACE, and was a newer caller who I had the honor of teaching at a caller's school 5 years ago. Bryce embodied the motto of square dancing being "friendship set to music", was always enthusiastic and helpful, and never went anywhere without his "load the boat" train whistle. He died of a heart attack surrounded by his family. My deepest condolences to his wife, Fran.
— Rob French
I am heartbroken to hear that my friend Bryce Perry died. When he and his wife Fran first joined the El Camino Reelers, I thought - based on absurd stereotypes on my part - that they were, let us say, "straight-laced." Conversations with them about their time at Burning Man disabused me of this judgement. (Which is not to say they weren't straight - to the best of my knowledge they were - but they were not rigid, totally accepting, and great fun in an LGBT environment.) Bryce was funny, smart, enthusiastic, and an enormous pleasure to dance with. And to talk to. And he was a great hugger.
I hadn't seen him for quite a few months, because I haven't been able to dance. (Hip problems, which are being addressed.) But over the last month or so I was able to see him and talk to him during the ECR Zoom gatherings. I am grateful that we had that connection so recently.
I will miss him tremendously. My heart goes out to Fran, and to all his family and friends - including his square dance family, which I knew meant so much to him, as he did to us. RIP Bryce. 💙
— Bennett Marks
Very sad news. Bryce was a kind soul whom I happily danced with quite often and who was part of our newer caller study group and Rich Reel's Caller Workshop. I saw him on a zoom call with our caller study group on April 30th and it was a pleasure to visit with him. He will be greatly missed. This is so much harder now that we are not able to come together in person as a group. My thoughts are with Fran and Michael.
— Regina Schulz
I first met Bryce and Fran at GCA Caller School in Palm Springs in 2017. They asked if I knew Tom Clewe. Turned out they knew my father from the Unitarian church. Small world. I will miss Bryce’s smiling face, and hope to see Fran on the dance floor again. Yellow Rocks! J
— Jane Clewe
Very sorry to hear this. He was such a sweet, intelligent guy. "Load the Boat" just won't be the same without his little boat whistle.
— Ed Wilson
Bryce and Fran at The Pirates of Palo Alto, El Camino Reelers Halloween Ball, 27 Oct 2018
Bryce & Fran dancing an A1 tip at Stanford Quads Hoedown, 26 Sep 2015
- Palo Alto online website : accessed 31 Aug 2020