Charles Perry III had a happy-go-lucky personality and an infectious laugh — you couldn't help but laugh at him laughing, said his longtime friend Curtis Haggins.
"He was a funny guy," his sister, Julia Perry, said. "He was always cracking jokes and always keeping the family laughing."
Perry, an East Palo Alto resident, died Feb. 7 at Stanford hospital after being stabbed in the leg. He was 34. His girlfriend — the mother of his only son, who is also named Charles — was charged with his murder.
Haggins called Perry "a proud father" of his 4-year-old son, and said he was a constant part of his child's everyday life.
"He always had him and he made sure he was never in need of anything," Julia Perry said.
Perry often talked with excitement about the day that his son could become involved in sports, as he was when he was young, Haggins said.
Perry and Haggins were part of a group of boys who met through the Onetta Harris Community Center Roadrunners when they were around 9 years old.
They, along with Terrence Brown, Charles Tharp, Eric Staurt, Senque Carey, Errol Johnson and Bruce Powell formed a tight bond as they traveled together and played basketball across the country. Brown described the group of men — who still keep in regular contact — as "brothers."
From the ages of 9 to 17 the boys played together on the community center's team, traveling as far as Hawaii and Florida, and playing with some of the best players in the country, Haggins said.
"It lit up a lot of spirits," Brown said. "Traveling with the basketball team, we were able to have a lot of experiences that other inner-city kids didn't have."
Although they went to rival high schools, each maintained an admiration for each other on the court and on the football field. Perry's friends said he was a gifted point guard in basketball and wide receiver in football.
"He was an all-around athlete," Haggins said. "He was both quick and fast and one of best defensive (basketball) players for his size."
Haggins, who is now president of Roadrunner sports club (the nonprofit organization that emerged after the original group lost its city funding), said Perry often participated in sports club events such as alumni basketball games and flag football matches.
Perry, the eldest of three, was born at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City on May 17, 1977. His sister, Julia, remembers him as a very protective, almost fatherly figure.
"He didn't want me talking to any of his friends," she said. "He was always making me do stuff like help him pick out what to wear and having me iron his clothes, because he was very into having a good appearance."
After high school he attended school at Alabama State University for one year but didn't pursue sports at the collegiate level, Haggins said.
He was did maintenance work at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto.
"I knew him as a person of high character (and) a lot of integrity, and I don't use that word a lot," Haggins said.
Perry is survived by his 4-year-old son, Charles; mother, Jane Owens Perry of Terrell, Texas; father Charles Perry Junior, of Tracy, Calif.; and siblings, Julia and Jeremiah Perry of Santa Clara.
A funeral will be held Friday, Feb. 17, at 11 a.m. at Abundant Life Christian Fellowship, 2581 Leghorn St., Mountain View.
Ann Taylor Ellis
Ann Taylor Ellis, 58, died Feb. 9 at her home on the Stanford University campus.
While she had been ill with Anorexia Nervosa for decades, her death was sudden and unanticipated. She died in her sleep in her own bed.
She was the only daughter of Arlee R. Ellis and Arthur W. Ellis. She moved to Palo Alto with her family at age 3 and grew up around the community, attending Green Gables Elementary, Jordan Junior High School and Palo Alto High School. She attended Stanford University, where her mother was a longtime administrative staff member.
While struggling with both Anorexia and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, she pursued many passions, especially surrounding the welfare of animals and children.
She is survived by her brother, Andrew Ellis of Lafayette, Calif. Plans for a memorial gathering are pending. Donations in her name may be made to the charity of your choice.
Shirley Rovin, 83, of Palo Alto, died Feb. 4 after a long battle with dementia with Lewy Bodies.
She was born in Philadelphia, Pa., to Morris and Bertha Finkle. She grew up in Philadelphia and attended public schools through high school, where she earned her diploma in 1945.
She met Sam Rovin on a blind date in 1948 and immediately fell in love. Sam whisked her away to the frontiers of California in 1950, where they started their family.
Stuart was born in 1951 and Keith in 1954. Their lifelong odyssey took them back and forth sround the world to New Jersey, Orlando, Palo Alto, Philadelphia again, Huntington Beach, Palo Alto again, Haifa, Israel, Sunnyvale and finally ending up in Palo Alto, where she remained until she entered Lytton Gardens skilled nursing center in 2010.
She was a devoted wife and mother, and also worked when times demanded it. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Sam; son, Stuart, and his wife, Lynne; and son, Keith.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Congregation Kol Emeth (kolemeth.org), Yiddish Book Center (yiddishbookcenter.org) or Hadassah (sharone-hadassah.org).