Joy added to Wall of Witnesses

Brandon L. Summers, Editor
"Only one thing is worse than never volunteering to help others, and that is to volunteer and never follow through." - Charles Joy

Charles Joy, a prominent Perry attorney, was added to the Wall of Witnesses Friday, joining other notable Perry citizens who have made significant contributions to the city's growth and history.

The seven voting members of the Perry Historic Preservation Commission chose Joy from more than 40 nominees.

Rick Stewart, a Newton artist, then created the bas relief unveiled Friday in Soumas Court, between Hotel Pattee and the TownCraft building.

"You don't have to be a lawyer or dentist," Gary Martin, HPC member, said. "It's something that was outgoing, or programs you were in, for the city, that helped the city to grow back in the day."

More than 40 attended the celebration Friday at TownCraft, inviting family, friends and the community to remember Joy.

"He was a friend, a colleague at Rotary, and someone I highly respected," William Clark, Hometown Heritage Perry president, said.

Born in 1906, Joy lived in Perry his entire life. He graduated from Perry High School in 1923, and received his law degree from University of Iowa in 1930.

"That was a time when jobs were non-existent and our economy was failing," Bill Joy, his youngest son, said.

Charles Joy whistled every day, and would walk up to strangers and make friends of them.

He believed in helping others before himself.

"That same belief of my father's caused him to become involved in many community projects to benefit Perry and its citizens," Joy said. "He did it because he was so proud of Perry and he wanted the best for his home town."

He added, "My dad believed Perry, Iowa, is the best place in the world."

That spirit, Bill Joy said, continues today.

"Perry has always been a town where a large number of citizens feel the same way," he said. "My dad just joined the rest of those folks in making Perry a great place to live."

He added, "A town needs the support of each and all of its citizens to make it a great place to live."

James Joy, Charles Joy's eldest son, a resident of San Francisco, California, said his father inspired in him a true sense of pride in his hometown.

"My dad truly loved this town, and he wanted to share that love with me," he said. "I went to a party with a friend, and at one point he pulled me aside and said, Jim, you really shouldn't be telling people you're from Iowa. They'll think you're a hick. I turned to him and said, what are you talking about? I'm very proud to be from Iowa, and proud to be from Perry."

Clark offered his own remembrance of Charles Joy.

"As a young business man when I came to Perry he was very gracious to me and took me in," he said, "so I was grateful for that."

Chuck Schott, Perry city councilman, offered perspective on Joy, as well.

"I never knew Mr. Joy, never had the pleasure," he said, "but for all the years I've been in Perry, that name has always held respect."

While the addition of Joy to the Wall of Witnesses was met with cheers, the program itself could be in jeopardy.

"We don't know what's going to happen because some of the funds have been taken away," Martin said. "We're going to find some other source to keep this continued."