Roy Pellerin


Roy Pellerin, born in 1933, passed away comfortably and with dignity on May 17, 2011, in the company of family members.

Roy was a New Jersey kid, though he was actually born near Boston, with French Canadian roots. He had a tough Army father and a strong mother. Roy had an independent and adventurous mind, and he was smart. He raced Flathead Harleys on dirt tracks, read the classics and skipped class in high school to go see Gene Crupa play the drums in a Manhattan nightclub. He joined the Air Force in ’53, earned an officer commission in ’54. He had his wings at age 20, with no college degree. He was stationed in Japan, a B-26 pilot. Toward the end of his life he placed pictures of Bud Stanka and his other AF pals on his bookshelf. Officer clubs, jazz bars, low-level skip-bombing practice… The photos from that time suggest much more, a time well spent.

After leaving the Air Force he acquired a Corvette convertible and began his studies at Boston University, where he also met and married Nancy Blake, my mother. They moved to Tucson and Roy completed his degree at the University of Arizona. He earned a degree in economics, but his craft was programming, initially on IBM mainframe computers with punch cards and spinning tapes.

Tracy was born in 1959, and I came along in 1960. Roy and Nancy moved to California and then to Seattle. Roy worked at Safeco, Airborne Freight, Eddie Bauer, Tel-Tone, and other companies.

1974 was a pivotal year for Roy. Divorce, and a subsequent trip to Mexico to clear his head… I wanted to go with him, and I skipped school for four weeks to do so. We traveled five thousand or more restless miles in a maroon-colored Monte Carlo, from Seattle to Topolobombo and Tampico, to Acapulco to Aguas Calientes, Mexico City and Mazatlan, “Peoples Guide to Mexico” on the seat between us.

To know my father was to know the books he read, and the places he traveled. He was not a big talker. He wore a shirt and tie for nearly two decades… and then he didn’t. He was a late-life beatnik, an artist, a massage therapist, lived in a flat in the Mission District of San Francisco and took spontaneous trips. He told me once that Beirut was his favorite beach. He claimed to have spent his 50th birthday on a French nude beach. He heard the Bagwan babble nonsense while flanked with Uzi-toting bodyguards; he explored and soon rejected all manner of new-age fakery. Roy was not easily bamboozled.

I have a picture of him taken by someone at Tel-Tone, in his office just before he gave it all up. The picture was taken just after he had returned from some trip to some sunny place, probably Mexico again. He looks wild, feral, hair long and face unshaven, ready to tear up the Wall Street Journal that sits in front of him on his desk, unread. But there is humor in his face in that picture, a playfulness in his eyes that suggest there are things we don’t know, and never will.

Roy was a great fan of Jazz, from Bessie Smith to Miles Davis and everything in between. I remember a warm night in San Francisco, 1995 or so. I was there on business and he suggested we go to The Ramp to see Kitty Margolis and her quartet. That was a great show, the kind of vibe he loved.

He had a long-term friendship with Betty Bryant, and he mourned her recent passing.

Roy left us after struggling for more than a decade with diabetes, heart troubles, arthritis and Parkinson’s. His body was failing, but his mind was sharp, and so was his sense of humor. He will be dearly missed.

9 Responses to “Roy Pellerin”

  • Lee Bond says:

    Hi David, Tracy-
    I was so sorry to hear about your dad’s health struggle from Lonnie and the added news… not unexpected… that he had passed on.
    My memories of Roy are of quiet class and poise. It was my good fortune to have known him and I am sorry that we lost contact these past many years.
    I hope that you are both doing well.
    Sincerely, Lee Bond and Paula too

  • Kenneth H. Smith Jr. says:

    David and Tracy-
    I am very sorry for your loss. I am your cousin and we have not seen or heard from each other since 1961; when we stopped by your house in Seattle on our way to Fairchild AFB, WA. I am Ken the eldest son of your dads sister; Marjory J. Pellerin; born in Blackstone, MA in 1934. My mom’s mom and dad were Helen and Wilfred Pellerin. Uncle Den passed away in California many years ago. Wish we had gotten to know each other. Sincerely, Ken Smith

  • Melissa K. Parker says:

    Hi Nancy, Tracy, David, and family:
    My life was blessed to have “Mr. Pellerin” as a neighbor with E. Dale & Kathy Parker, my parents; Jennifer & Beth, two sisters; growing up on the couldesac in North Seattle. Tracy and David were always the best friends on the couldesac to play all kinds of fun,and intelligent games. And, Nancy & Roy truly always made life fun and safe for us all. May the days ahead you all adventure bring peace, protection, and perserverance. Losing a loved one is hard, but I know you’ll all take the positive memories.
    Nancy, Tracy, and David you are often in my thoughts.
    Blessings to you all, Melissa K. Parker

  • Melissa K. Parker says:

    Blessings to Nancy, Tracy, and David, and family:
    I send my sympathy to the loss of Mr. Roy Pellerin. I truly always enjoyed you as neighbors on the cul-de-sac. May peace, protection, and love be with you all. You are all in my prayers.
    Sincerly, Melissa K. Parker

  • Steve Donovan says:

    I knew your father when I was a kid. He first showed up at our 61 Thicket St. house in South Weymouth, MA in 1955 or 56. I seem to remember he drove up in a Corvette the first time he appeared. He was in his Air Force uniform a the time and created quite a stir in our neighborhood. I also remember he showed up on a motorcycle at times too. Roy (and thus you too) are related to my family. My grandfather, William Seach, had a sister, Lizzie Minnie Seach who married Albert John Edwards. Their second child was Helen Elizabeth Edwards born 11/26/1907 (she died in Nov. of 1954). Helen married Wilfred Pellerin, and your father, Roy Stephen Pellerin, born July 8, 1933, was her third child.
    Your Dad stayed with us often while he was at B.U. I remember him showing us slides of his trip across the Canadian Highway and down through Washington State, Oregon and California in 1957. His favotite singer at that time was Patty Page and he had many – if not all – of her albums which he would always bring and play on our hi-fi record player.
    I lost track of Roy although my mother, Carol (Seach) Donovan used to keep in touch with him for years as did my grandfather and grandmother. I think Roy visited them in Bradenton, Florida one winter in the late 50’s or early 60’s.
    I have family records of the Seach’s that I have not yet transcribed. Send me your email address and I will send them to you when I get them typed up.

  • Tom Donovan says:

    Roy drove the first Corvette I was ever given a ride in. I may have been 12. He was able to “lay rubber” in second gear and even get a chirp from the tires in third. That made him my instant hero. I may have seen him once or twice in later years, but he is forever, in my mind, a 20-something Air Force pilot who drove a Corvette like a jet fighter for the astonished delight of a young cousin he had never seen before.
    We (my wife and I) have lived in the Sacramento area since 1990. Wish we had known that Roy lived in the bay area and his love of jazz. It would have been terrific to see him again after all those years and catch some jazz at a club. Some day, when you have the opportunity, I’d appreciate it if you would let me know one of his favorite jazz songs so I can play it and tell him thanks for the wild thrill in the ‘Vette all those years ago.

  • Steve Donovan says:

    I mentioned before that I was transcribing my Grandfather’s diaries. I just did Friday, the 6th of June, 1958, the day Roy and Nancy were married. “Carol” was my mother, Carol Donovan, and “William”, who stood in for “Billy”, my father. “Bill” was the son of William Seach, my grandfather. “Billy” Donovan, the no-show best man, is my older brother and “Tommy” is my younger. “George Robinson” served I believe as a Marine in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 – for which my Grandfather had been awarded the Medal of Honor – and had looked up and visited with William Seach earlier that year to campare notes and relive their experiences in that conflict. Here it all is!
    Friday.
    Up at 5-am. T-40-F. Afternoon brought Carol home from work. At 6-pm son Bill with Ruth and Becky called and we accompanied them into Boston and to the chapel of Boston University, there we again met Mr. George Robinson who visited us last 18th May. He is the custodian of the building and showed us around the chambers. Later we attended the wedding of Roy Pellerin and his bride Nancy Blake at the chapel. Billy Donovan, the best man, was too late for the ceremony so his father, William Donovan, took his place. Present at the ceremony were Donovan family of 5, Seach family of 4, we two, also members of both the bride’s and of the groom’s families and some friends of both. After the ceremony we all adjourned to the Faculty Club for the reception where refreshments were served, pictures taken and the families introduced to each other. We met friends, the relatives of Roy, whom we had not seen for 20 years or more, also met Nancy’s sister and her family. There were about 40 present. After the reception the bride and groom left by car to drive to Tucson, Arizona, where they will live and continue to attend college. Afterwards we rode home with Donovan family. 73,012 -5- miles for the day.

  • Randy W. says:

    What a wonderfully written obituary and tribute to one person. I can tell you were very proud of your father.
    I knew your dad in the late 1980s. I went to him regularly for massage. He was the best and when I moved to the California desert in 1990, I missed his massage.
    He never revealed too much about himself but just being in his presense, one knew there was a fine mind behind the face.
    I am sure he is smiling down. Thanks for writing such a good read.

  • william b seach says:

    I AM A FIRST COUSIN TO BILLY DONOVAN< STEVIE AN INDELIBLE IMPRESSION.THE TARDY SYMPATHY IS NO LESS GENUINE EVEN THOUGH FROM AT CLOSEST A 3rd COUSIN, MY FATHER, WILLIAM, GRANDFATHER, WILLIAM, ETC>I”VE BEEN INVOLVED IN VARIOUS BUSINESS ACTIVITIES BUT< I"LL BET YOUR DAD WOULD HAVE LIKED MY PARTNER-JOHN DELOREAN-, I CO CREATED AN ELECTRIC CAR AND ROGER WARD INDY % WINNER 59/62 TOOK ME AROUNDTHE TRACK @100mph but, the ride with your dad stuck forever!
    BEST OF LUCK WHEREVER, WHATEVER YOU DO! EVER SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS!

    BILL SEACH
    BMCRISTO@AOL.COM

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