From Ronnie

A Tribute to Johnny Perry


It was once said that it does not matter how many days are in one’s life, rather how much life are in one’s days. No person ever personified this expression as much as Johnny Wade Perry Jr.


Johnny was a monstrous human, standing at a towering 6’5 and slaughtering the scales at over 380 pounds. He was one of the largest humans to ever grace a platform or playing field, but his size simply overshadowed his genuine qualities. For, you see, Johnny Perry was better known to his friends and loved ones as John Boy, nothing more, nothing less. It was never his bulging traps or his impeccable biceps that caught our attention, rather his gentle smile and calming touch.



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You see, Johnny was a true gentle giant with one impervious principle: Appreciate yesterday, dream about tomorrow, but hold the moment, for even time must slip through the greatest of grasps.


Growing up as an ole country boy from Hopkins Chapel, NC, John Boy lived a simplistic life, always showing off feats of strength to his slack jawed spectators. He was a cut above from the day he was reared into this world, but those that knew him from the start or met him along the way knew that his true strength and fortified talent lay within his heart. When John Boy came around a calm feeling of nirvana seem to light the place aglow; his smile and laughter would fill the most depressed rooms with a new ambiance of joy. He loved each day as he was granted it, never too lazy to watch the sun ease over the treetops and gently kiss the morning sky. Never too busy to pause for a brief moment and gaze in awe of the light as it hid itself briskly from the eyes and reminisce of the fading glory that had occurred as the sunset.



Johnny grew and as the years glanced by, he realized his calling, to become a strongman; to utilize the talents God had lent him, if but for just a small while and make his impact on the unexpecting world. So he began his venture and chose carefully his avenues with nothing more to guide him than hope, love and inspiration. He never veered from his predetermined course and vibrantly passing milestone after milestone he shed his blood and continued unwaveringly on an upward spiral to the top. Along the way he left a massive impact on the lives of many, becoming a grand inspirational influence to all he chanced to meet. He never shed his back to anyone and would courageously lay his life down to assist any person that was in dire need. He was not a warrior without imperfections. And he did stumble occasionally on his quest, making less than intelligent decisions at times and allowing his temper to override his common sense – though these occurrences were seldom at best. He never lacked the desire or will to ascertain whatever goal he had determined himself worthy of, but he never stepped on another to get there.


See, Johnny valued friendship and respect above all else, he never forgot whom he was or what was the true importance of life. It is not what you yourself accomplish that determines ones worth, rather the dreams and goals that you help others achieve that surrender the ultimate rewards in this game called life. Johnny was a genuine warrior in every since of the word, but he was a warrior of the heart. He wielded the light and kept the darkness in a chasm of his soul, never allowing it to rear it’s ferocious head and deter the goodness that abided in his heart of hearts. Johnny embraced life and every moment granted him, relishing the thought of just another hour, just another day. He kept a thankful mind for every kiss he gave his mother at the end of each glorious day or each hug he handed effortlessly to his friends.



Unfortunately, a light can only gleam for a short amount of time and then the winds of change appear and snuff it out. Thus it is the plight that all are predestined to drift down to that morbid ending, that the world must face on an hourly basis the loss of those who make irrefutably positive impacts on a society that needs many more heroes.


So it has come to pass with Johnny Perry, his light shines no more, he was called suddenly away to cast his great presence in another arena, at another venue in another life. However, his memory burns as bright as any ray of light ever shall, his presence still casts a massive shadow at any place he ever had the opportunity to visit, and his hand still calmly rests on each shoulder it has ever gently touched. Johnny’s presence here on this earth garnished him eternal respect from any that met him. His memory and willingness to help anyone at anytime allowed him to leave his carved nitch imbedded in the souls of all.



Some have lost a competitor, some a friend, others have lost a lover, a brother, a son, or an idol in the passing of this great human being. We all, however, have lost a gleaming ray of true sunshine in a bleak world; we have lost a caring individual that left an unfillable void in the realm in which we must continue to abide. Hopefully, through his memory, we will become better people and never forget that even the man with the greatest grip in the world could not hold tight enough the sands of time, and take heart in every grain that remains in our hands.
Johnny you left us too soon, as the tears cascade down my face and I am forced to bid you farewell my friend, know each day wherever I may be, I know you are there also, and walk slow down that long lonely road my friend, and stop to listen often in the distance, for soon I will be calling your name and we will once again walk side by side together, brother beside brother.
Your Little Buddy,
Ronnie Shirley