Onorina “Rena” Perry
Co-Founder, The Natural History Museum of Santa Maria
Onorina Rollini Perry passed away suddenly but peacefully on October 15. Rena was born January 24, 1928 in Santa Maria to John and Caterina Rollini. She grew up on her parent’s dairy farm and attended Santa Maria High School, class of 1946. She married a Santa Maria native, Samuel (Sam) Perry, an officer in the Army Air Corps, during World War II. They had one child, Virginia. Rena and Sam built their own home on Miller Street where she was still living happily until her death.
Rena was much beloved and remembered as a Camp Fire Girls leader and a member of the Miller Street Mother’s Club. She was as an inspiring home maker and a dedicated fruit and vegetable gardener. She knit and sewed many items for her family, most notably her granddaughter Lindy’s wedding dress. Rena was a patient teacher, and especially enjoyed teaching her granddaughters and great-grandsons how to make her blackberry pie. Pies made from her backyard fruit were favorites of everyone who knew her.
Rena and Sam founded Perry’s Electric Motors & Control in 1967. She was active in the business until it was sold after Sam’s passing in 1989. She and her daughter founded the Natural History Museum, Santa Maria, in 1996 and she volunteered there as secretary/treasurer and as a docent until the week of her passing. Also in retirement Rena enjoyed traveling through the United States with her women friends.
She is survived by her daughter, Virginia Perry Souza; her granddaughters, Angela Hoxsey, Paula Stein and Lindy Boisvert; grandsons-in-law David Hoxsey and Joel Boisvert; and great grandsons Ellis Boisvert, Samuel Boisvert and Matthew Stein.