Perhaps the last piece of the redesigned Main Street in Sulphur Springs was put in place last week, but it was a sad moment in a way.
It was a melancholy moment because the latest addition was a memorial to a man who died working on the Main Street project.
On the other hand, it also stands as a tribute to a loving family man who had many friends and the respect of his co-workers.
The memorial is a plaque set into the sidewalk on the north side of Main Street at about the same spot where Robert Leonard Perry was doing his job as a master electrician on June 5, 2008.
“He was actually working right here when he started having chest pains,” said City Manager Marc Maxwell. “You can see everything regarding electrical — the sound, the Christmas lights — all came to this point, and he was running conduit when it happened.”
The translucent plaque, which is illuminated at night, includes a picture of Perry and an inscription:
“He Was An Amazing Man, Loving Husband, Father, Papa, Brother, Loyal Friend, Master Electrician And Great Employee.”
“He really was everything the plaque says,” Maxwell said. “A tremendous employee, a good friend.”
Many city employees left messages and notes for the family after the death of Perry, who worked for the city for 10 years. Maxwell and Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk served as pallbearers at the funeral, and honorary pallbearers were all the employees of the city of Sulphur Springs.
But first and foremost, Perry was a family man.
“Being a father and grandfather and husband were the things that he held most dear in his life,” Maxwell recalled. “You couldn’t hardly have a conversation with him without hearing about his grandkids.”
Appropriately enough, the plaque is powered, with lights that illuminate the image and words in the dark.
“It’s really best to see it at night,” Maxwell said.
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