Gwendolyn R. Perrin (81) of Vassar, Michigan, passed away on April 3, 2021, after a long illness. She was born on December 5, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, to Orville and Melva (Fitzsimmons) Riopelle. Gwen graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Detroit and married Leonard Perrin on June 21, 1958, at St. David’s Catholic Church in Detroit. Len remained her lifelong love and companion until his passing in February 2017, after 58 years of marriage.
Gwen was predeceased by her parents and six siblings, Orville “Sonny” Riopelle, Patricia Buchner, Jacqueline Riopelle, Michelle Galvanin, Elaine Riopelle, and Michael Riopelle. Those who will cherish her memory include her children: Deborah Perrin, Cynthia (Paul) Tetuan, Suzanne (Jeffrey) Nicholas, and John Perrin; her sister and brother-in-law, Sandra and John Schmitt, and sister-in-law, Bernice Ruth. She also leaves her beloved grandchildren MacKenzie Ainsworth, Joseph (Nicole) Dean, Scott Dean, Alexander Nicholas, and Zarina Nicholas; great-grandchildren, Logan Scharff and Phiona Ainsworth; and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
From an early age, Gwen put family first, managing the household and caring for her seven siblings. In 1966, Gwen and Len moved their young family to Vassar. Gwen was active in her church and serving as treasurer of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Credit Union for several years, and as a volunteer for the Vassar High School band. Gwen was admired her for natural leadership and wise counsel. Students from the high school would seek her out, and sometimes come to the house for advice or assistance. As a mother, Gwen was supportive, encouraging, loving, and disciplined. She was a good listener and provided stability while guiding her family through difficult times. In her free time, Gwen enjoyed oil painting, gardening, and reading. She also enjoyed time with her friends in the Bridge club and weekly lunch group. Her sister, Sandy, held a special place in her heart. Weekends were filled with laugher as Gwen (known by Sandy as “goodie two-shoes”) attempted to tame her sister’s wilder inclinations. A stronger bond there will never be, and for that we are grateful.
A memorial service will be held during the summer, when Gwen will be interred with Leonard at Riverside Cemetery in Vassar, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Toni and Trish House, a hospice home in Auburn, Michigan. toniandtrishhouse.org
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