Dorothy M. “Dot” Perry, who was the co-owner with her husband of Gordon Florist Inc. and enjoyed preparing gourmet dinners, died of colon cancer Oct. 28 at her Towson home. She was 83.
The former Dorothy Maryann Udris, daughter of Albert Udris, a Western Electric Corp. Point Breeze worker, and Josephine Udris, a National Can Co. employee, was born in Baltimore and raised in Fells Point.
While attending Catholic High School, she worked at Etta Gowns on Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, which was acclaimed for its selection of wedding gowns. After graduating in 1956 from high school, she took a job with the Sun Life Insurance Co.
In 1960, she married Walter Joseph Perry Jr., and later moved to Towson where she raised their three children.
After her children were grown, Mrs. Perry, who was known as “Dot” by family and friends, enrolled at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, now Notre Dame of Maryland University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1990 in business.
In the 1970s, she joined her husband as co-owner of Gordon Florist Inc. The business was established in the late 1940s by Gordon A. Gaumnitz in Towson, who moved the business to St. Paul Street in Charles Village next door to Eddie’s Market.
“My dad was manager and after Mr. Gaumnitz died in 1975, he purchased the business from his estate,” said a daughter, Beth A. Perry, of Upper Fells Point.
A full-service florist, it later had a branch shop on York Road in Stoneleigh, and is currently located in Belvedere Square.
“My dad was the floral designer and is semiretired. Mom ran the office,” said Ms. Perry, who is currently president of Gordon Florist Inc. “She also handled marketing and sales, and had planned hundreds of weddings in her lifetime, and some of them were even first and second marriages.”
Mrs. Perry was gifted with a friendly and outgoing personality. She brought her wedding expertise to such venerable Baltimore venues as the Baltimore Museum of Art, Belvedere Hotel, the Cloisters, Chesapeake Bay resorts, ships, and more recently, the 1840s Club, her daughter said.
For years, Gordon’s decorated the Christmas tree that stood in The Baltimore Sun’s Calvert Street lobby, and other corporate accounts including banks, brokerage houses and other businesses “before the Baltimore companies got bought out,” Ms. Perry said.
“She loved doing weddings and was a stickler for details,” her daughter said. “And one of her strong suits was the way she brought a personal touch to the business and treated customers like they were her own family. She was caring.”
“She had many customers she cherished and helped. She took care of each customer sending their personal messages and arrangements as if they were her own,” her daughter wrote in an email.
Mrs. Perry enjoyed training Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University Maryland students who worked in the shop when it was located in Charles Village.
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The couple looked forward to attending the annual Florists’ Telegraph Delivery conventions when it was owned by participating florists, Ms. Perry said.
She was semiretired at her death.
A devoted Roman Catholic, she liked to attend Masses at the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity in Timonium, the Carmelite Monastery in Dulaney Valley and the adoration at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson.
In addition to gardening, reading and traveling to the Pacific Northwest to visit family, Mrs. Perry was an accomplished seamstress who loved celebrating holidays.
She also “liked cooking Polish food because she was Polish,” her daughter said. Mrs. Perry also mastered other different cuisines and gained expertise in her kitchen by attending local cooking classes.
A private Mass was offered for Mrs. Perry Wednesday at the Carmelite Monastery.
In addition to her husband of 62 years and her daughter, Mrs. Perry is survived by a son, John E. Perry of Bellingham, Washington; another daughter, Meg. M. Perry Nicolls of Towson; a brother, Albert Udris of Northeast Baltimore; a sister, Joan Stachowiak of Kingsville; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.