Over at KPGFootball we employ professional writers and people of great depth and feeling. One of those is Editorial Board member and former feature writer, Fletcher Long.
Long was close to Jason Perry, the late high school football star who recently died in a tragic accident. Long was also close to Jason’s parents, Bill and Beverly.
Beverly Perry asked Mr. Long to eulogize her son, Jason and to deliver the eulogy if he could make it to the funeral. Prior commitments and distance prevented Long’s delivery of the eulogy but he did write one from the heart and sent it along to the Perry family.
We thought we would publish the eulogy to our site. Perry had many friends, fans, and former teammates from across Kentucky mourning his loss. Perhaps these people could also draw some comfort from this piece as the people at the funeral seemed to do.
The below is the eulogy Mr. Long wrote in honor of his friend, Jason Perry…..
I used to publish an editorial in the Jackson Times Voice regularly entitled, “The Long Version.” I have left the mountains. I have left the newspaper business.
While I have left the mountains, the mountains haven’t left me. I have many wonderful friends still there.
My mountain family has shrunk. I have lost one very important member of this family.
I had gotten to know Jason Perry well through watching his development into a high school football star while covering football for my magazine, Kentucky Prep Gridiron. Jason Perry was my friend and he had become like family to my children, wife, and me.
Bill and Beverly Perry are our friends. Bill and Beverly Perry are also family.
Many of you hearing this and gathered today to say good bye to a friend and family member are dear to me.
Jason passed on June 5, 2022. He was only 16-years old. He was just physically coming into his own and maturing into manhood. At the time of his death, Jason had transferred back to Morgan County from Breathitt High.
Jason was a fan of Viking lore. Jason looked like the very essence of a Norseman.
Now the Vikings had a prayer circulated in popular present-day culture. Michael Alexander memorialized this prayer in his work, Risen from Ashes.
The prayer goes as follows:
Lo, there do I see my father.
Lo, there do I see my mother,
and my sisters, and my brothers.
Lo, there do I see the line of my people,
Back to the beginning!
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
There is evidence the prayer is legitimate. It is based from off an account of Ibn Fadlan’s encounter with the Rus in northern Russian in the 13th-Century.
Now when Jason peered into Valhalla, the Norse interpretation of heaven, he did not see his father nor his mother. They are burying him today.
Beverly, Bill, my good friends and extended family; no mother nor father should have to bury a child. All of our hearts extend to your family for this tragic loss.
However, peering into Valhalla, Jason would have seen a line of his people. He would have seen his paternal grandfather, Ronald E. Perry Sr., and his maternal grandfather, Charles Faulkner.
Perhaps they were calling to Jason. Perhaps they were calling him to take his place among them in God’s Kingdom, in the Christian halls of Valhalla.
It is there that the Norsemen believe the brave live forever. There can be no question but that Jason Perry was among the very bravest.
There is one more Viking tradition I would like to bring to the attention of everyone be they family, friend, teammate, or coach about their late beloved friend, relative, brother, teammate, player, or son. The Vikings believed death was something not to be feared. The Vikings believed the hour of our doom was set in stone and that none of us were permitted to escape it. The Vikings were right on all accounts.
This same belief about death is both true and prevalent in Christian theology. In 1 Corinthians 15: 42-45 the apostle Paul wrote “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
Like in Viking lore, we believe death is just as inevitable and something we will, none of us, escape. However, though sown perishable, it is raised imperishable, it is raised in glory, it is raised in power, it is raised in spirit.
So we commend to the Lord our friend, our brother, our son, our teammate, our player to be raised again in glory. We will all see Jason again and, when we do, we will marvel together at Jason’s new found power while reveling in his spirit when the line of our own people call out to us to take our own places among them; where the brave, like Jason Perry, live forever.