Perry Lee Runnels
Child Who Had Early Christmas In 1952 Is Dead
Death came Sunday for Perry Lee Runnels, plucky eight-year old Mt. Vernon
lad-who fought gamely against an incurable ailment for more than four years.
Perry Lee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl C. Runnels, died at 9:10 a.m. Sunday at
the family home, 805 south 12th street. On June 17, 1952 - almost four years
ago - the child underwent a delicate brain operation in St. Louis. For six
weeks afterwards he remained unconscious. Perry Lee, his parents said, had a
malignant tumor of the brain. On August 20, 1952 his parents brought him home
from the St. Louis hospital. He was given regular X-ray treatments but his
condition steadily worsened, causing his parents to despair of his recovery.
A happy and intelligent youngster. Perry Lee had his fun like other children
most of the time. There were times, however, when his condition caused him
terrible pain. Christmas came early for Perry Lee in that year of 1952, when
his parents began to fear that his death might occur before Christmas Day.
It was on October 22 - two months before Christmas - that the Runnels family
put up a Christmas tree and every day was Christmas Day for Perry Lee up to-and
including December 25. In the intervening years Perry Lee's condition was good
on some days, very critical on others. On many occasions he was given oxygen
to prolong his life.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at the Reorganized Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Cecil Robbins and W. W. Colvin will officiate
and burial will be in Kirk cemetery. The body will remain at the Pulley Funeral Home,
where friends of the family may call at any time.
Perry Lee was born June 18, 1947 in Mt. Vernon, the son of Carl C. and
Marie (Russo) Runnels. Besides his parents, he is survived by four brother,
James C, Carl F., Kenneth E. and Joseph P., and two sisters, Mary Catherine
and Sue Ann, all at home.
Source: Mt. Vernon Register-News
Date: Monday, March 12, 1956
Submitted by: Robert W. Loman