Born as Mary Lilly Perry to Hugh Bennett Perry and Genevieve Horrell in Longmont, Colorado. Mary grew up on a farm with one brother William Perry till the farm was lost in the great depression. They moved to the city where she finished her high school education. She came to San Diego before the war started in 1941. She worked as an accountant payroll head clerk for a pharmacy company in downtown San Diego.
It was here in San Diego after the war started that she met her future husband Frank Elmer Crist who was in recruit training as a Marine at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot. They had a brief romance till Frank deployed to the war. They both agreed that it was best to wait till the war was over before marrying.
Frank deployed and then Mary enlisted on November 19th of 1943. She enlisted as an Aviation Machinist Mate and went to Norman, Oklahoma for training. She was duty stationed back to San Diego North Island where she had worked briefly as a machinist before enlisting.
Frank meanwhile was injured in the war and was sent to Balboa Naval Hospital where he recovered. Upon his recovery Mary and Frank married November 22, 1944. A picture of them in their uniforms after the marriage standing in her brother’s garden is included.
They had six children and whose spouse I shall name in (..) are Dale (w. Barbell), Leslie (w. Helga), Daniel (w. Yvonne), Frank (w. Deborah, deceased), Sandra (h. Ernest Wright), and Craig (w. Gwynn). Five boys and one girl.
While raising her six children she worked on and off at Rohr, Convair, and General Dynamics before returning to North Island air station as a GS worker. She was a union representative for her machinist Union. She represented many a fellow worker in disputes with the government. When she retired at North Island just before Frank died in 1989, she had become a quality control supervisor and was elevated as Head Civilian of the base with her supervisory position.
Some of her accomplishments follow:
Attended Saint Charles church helping to build and support the church’s growing ministries and schools. Since 1946 she helped the church add an elementary and high school as well as the new church that is now standing. After Frank’s death she served on the parish council as treasurer from 1991–1993.
Mary and Frank served as Boy Scout leaders while raising their five sons.
They help establish Southwest Little League. Mary even drove the tractor that helped carve the baseball field out of Dairy land in the river valley. They built the fields, bleachers and concession stands. Frank and other men became coaches, while a lot of the wives and mothers worked on fundraisers and in the concessions.
They worked as citizens to help incorporate the city of Imperial Beach. They attended many council meetings to help establish city departments such as fire, police, lifeguard, libraries and schools for the area. They belonged to PTAs helping to raise money for schools and projects like playgrounds.
She served on the Montgomery Park and recreation council as a treasurer for 20 years after Frank died. Now her granddaughter Sarah serves.
She was an active member of the Imperial Beach senior citizen club where she had the pleasure of being with other seniors enjoying club activities. Her daughter Sandra joined the club and now enjoys the friendships of many of Mary’s friends.
Mary is an honorary member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) for having served as treasurer.
Mary Crist became the matriarch of the family when Frank died in 1989. She attended many of her grandchildren’s births, graduations and weddings. She is survived by 19 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren. When her husband died in 1989 he was buried in Riverside national cemetery with a purple heart.
On December 7 Mary and Frank will be laid to rest together at Miramar national cemetery (We, her family, have brought Frank down from Riverside). World War II, which made the circumstances possible for them to meet the first time is now the 76th anniversary for them to be together again. May our parents rest in peace. Love from the family to all who knew them.