MICHAEL J PERNA
Beloved father of Lisa Marie Perna-Trier (Malcolm) and Andrew Michael, devoted grandfather of Madaleine, Maxwell, Mason, and Mitchell. Loving son of Sara and Nicola (deceased) and stepson of Peter Bellini (deceased). Dear brother, uncle, Godfather, and treasured friend to many.
As the eldest boy in his family, Michael had a strong work ethic from a very young age. Growing up in Cleveland's Little Italy, Michael could be found shining shoes, working in the flower shop, and the Mayfield Theater, followed by White Sewing Machine Co. A devout Catholic, Michael had planned to become a priest, but his desire to become a father changed his path. Michael began his 35 year career with the United States Post Office as a clerk in 1958, moving up to a letter carrier three years later. He became affectionately known as "Mike the Mailman", a name that stuck with him long after his retirement in 1993. In his young adult years, he actively volunteered at the St. Joseph Retreat House, Parmadale, Little Sisters of the Poor, and was a member of CAYOMAW club.
Michael always fought for his beliefs and spent his free time hand writing letters to Senators and Congressmen, visiting their offices, and travelling to Washington D.C. In 1977, he successfully lobbied for changes surrounding obtainment and renewal of an epileptic's driver's license. He testified before review committees in Columbus at least 30 times. Over the years, his actions on many topics helped effect change at the local, state, and federal levels. His longstanding passion was fighting to increase social security's modest benefits. Michael was active in his union and proudly attended the national conferences each year. He was never without a voter registration form and regularly asked passersby if they were registered. He instilled in his family the importance of having your voice heard.
Michael was an avid lottery player and participant in Publisher's Clearing House, going so far as to write them when he felt the odds were unfair, much to his daughter's chagrin. He had a love of dancing unparalleled by most. Michael taught his nieces to box step and could be seen on the dance floor every single night of the week. He would seek out those who looked intimidated and teach them his moves, all while serenading them. He loved life and wanted to bring joy to those around him.
For the last 30 years, Michael could be found at the Denny's counter or Big Boy in the Valley, with his closest friend, Adam, and their group of loyal friends. He was famous for gifting pens to the waitresses and buying a meal for someone in need. He would consume copious amounts of coffee (half and half, not cream, and one white sugar) and water with lemon and no ice, while reading the entire Plain Dealer and USA Today, highlighting all of the sections he might want to reread. Michael was never without his most important things- a yellow highlighter, a roll of Mentos, a felt tipped pen, toothpicks, and reading glasses.
Michael joins his parents, stepfather, and sisters in Heaven where they have been saving his seat at the dinner table. The meal? Why, endless bowls of spaghetti and meatballs, of course (extra hot)!
Interment Lake View Cemetery. Prayers of Christian Burial 12 noon Saturday October 26 at THE FIORITTO FUNERAL HOME, 5236 MAYFIELD RD, LYNDHURST (E OF RICHMOND RD) WHERE FRIENDS MAY CALL FROM 11 AM UNTIL TIME OF SERVICE.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Postal Employees Relief Fund
P.O. Box 7630
Woodbridge, VA 22195