Sunday, November 27, 2022

Avenue of Heroes: Mary Jane Osmeña Perry

Written by Kaye Sweetser

Mary Jane “MJ” Osmeña Perry was born into a Navy family on Sept. 30, 1967, in Great Lakes, Illinois. She grew up in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and was always too humble to talk about the beauty pageants she won. She graduated from College of the Holy Cross Naval ROTC Unit in 1989, then began her career in the U.S. Navy.

Perry served her country for 20 years as a Naval Officer, first hunting Soviet submarines and later providing invaluable human resource support to thousands of navy service members and their families while stationed in Okinawa, Hawaii, California, and Washington D.C. It was in the navy she met and married her husband, Capt. Ryan Perry. In 2015, they made Coronado their home and the family still lives here.

After her retirement, Perry continued to be an exceptional leader and mentor in Coronado. She was a golf enthusiast, community caretaker, and all-around unstoppable woman. Perry spent her time mentoring fellow female naval officers between tee times at Naval Base Coronado’s Sea ‘N Air Golf Club, and she never missed an Islander football, basketball, or baseball game.

Perry passed away on April 6, 2021, at the age of 53. She is survived by her children L.T. Blake McCrea, Raden Perry, and Malia Perry; her parents Divino and Leticia Osmeña of Portsmouth: sister Divina Bradshaw of Naples, Florida; and many other family members and friends at home and abroad. Her widower, Capt. Perry, is an active-duty Navy Captain and is stationed here at Naval Special Warfare.

At her funeral, several aisles were filled with Coronado High School Islander baseball players, who wore their jerseys to honor her and pay their respects. Members of both the local, and naval communities, remembered “MJ” as devoted, protective and altruistic.

Perry’s daughter is a freshman at Coronado High School. Her oldest son is a helicopter pilot at Naval Air Station North Island. Her second son played several varsity sports at CHS during his four years. Her husband is stationed at Naval Special Warfare Command. He is honored that “MJ” will smile down on the sailors and officers as they drive to NASNI every day, and that the banner will serve as a reminder of her service.

The Hometown Banner program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 206 hometown heroes. On May 21, another 11 will be honored. The City funds all the costs for the program. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]