Dr. Perry L. Rashleigh, 82, Tiverton
Perry L. Rashleigh, 82, passed away peacefully Tuesday, May 9, 2017 after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease and Lewey body dementia. He was surrounded by his four loving children.
Perry lived in Tiverton his last two years but made his home, raised his family, and enjoyed his adult life in Grand Junction, Colorado, for over four decades. He was the husband of the late Rosemary (Jones) Rashleigh to whom he was married 48 years before her passing in 2006.
Born in rural Kansas during the Depression, Perry embodied the values of hard work, educational excellence, family priorities and service to country and community. He was the son of the late Perry T. and Elizabeth D. (Shaver) Rashleigh.
Perry was modest and soft-spoken. His accomplishments were many: high school valedictorian; summa cum laude graduate in pharmacy from the University of Kansas; magna cum laude graduate from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Perry completed his Internal Medicine residency at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, and joined the US Air Force where he served as a flight surgeon and was stationed in Omaha, Nebraska.
He returned to rural Smith County Kansas in 1962 and worked as a family practitioner until 1965. In 1965, he moved his family to Denver, Colorado where he moonlighted as a family doc while specializing in dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His learning continued as he later earned a post-doctorate degree in dermatopathology from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In 1969, he joined Charles Wilson M.D. in Western Colorado. Perry spent 40 years practicing Dermatology in the Grand Valley where he and Dr. Wilson founded Mountain West Dermatology, treating thousands of patients, and training hundreds of medical school students through the St. Mary’s Hospital residency program. “Doc Rashleigh” was never happier than when he was at the office helping patients.
Perry embraced the teaching of medical students through his 30-year commitment to St. Mary’s Family Physician’s residency program. He was quietly proud of his Teacher of the Year award in 1995 and being recognized as Honoraria Faculty member at CU Medical School. His support for the community was felt through his generosity and service to the United Way, Marillac Clinic, 9-News Family Health Fair, St. Mary’s Hospital and many other causes. He and his wife Rosemary were long-standing and ardent supporters of the Mesa County Library.
Before sunrise, seven days a week, Perry could be found in his garden, a paradise of healthy, beautiful flora. He grew everything: trees, vegetables, fruit, flowers and even a morning glory house! His regular harvest would be delivered to family, friends and patients by wheelbarrow. As long as there was light in the day, he industriously tilled the earth and shared its bounty with others. He proudly declared “gardening was his golf!”
Perry cherished Western Colorado, possessing a reverence for the earth and sky. He loved the quiet and beauty of the Rockies: cross country skiing on the Grand Mesa, trout fishing, backpacking in the San Juan’s. Competitive, lean and fit-as-a-fiddle, he walked the Trail of the Serpent on the Colorado National Monument a few thousand times! He was hard to keep up with on the trail and in life. As his wife Rosemary would proclaim, “Perry doesn’t get out of bed, he springs!” To slow him down, one needed chocolate and ice cream.
Perry’s devotion to his family was ever-present. Frequent family backpacking trips, fishing and hunting excursions, and gatherings at Wyndham Way and on the Grand Mesa kept him close to his loved ones. He leaves a legacy of talented children and grandchildren, many lasting contributions to the Grand Junction community, scores of skilled and empathetic doctors, and millions of healthy calories grown and spent in nature.
He is survived by his four children, Suzanne Cansler and her husband Josh of Stonington, Conn., Dr. Stephen Rashleigh and his wife Dr. Giselle Rosinia of Savannah, Ga., Jennifer Rashleigh and her husband Brendan McNally of Tiverton, and Jonathan Rashleigh of Palisade, Col.; sisters, Dolores Jennings, Betty Reilly and Phyllis Denison; and grandchildren, James Traylor and his wife Nicole, Emily and Nathalie Traylor, Nicholas and Gabrielle Rashleigh, and Ian and Céde Rashleigh McNally. He was the brother of the late Barbara Irvine and stepson of the late Mary H. (Dick) Rashleigh.
His memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 10, at 12 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Grand Junction, 522 White Ave., Grand Junction, CO.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his honor to: The Alzheimer’s Foundation, https://act.alz.org, The Marillac Clinic Inc., 2333 N. 6th Grand Junction, CO 81501 marillacclinic.org, The Mesa County Public Library Foundation, 443 N. 6th, Grand Junction, CO mesacountylibraries.org/aboutus/supportus/foundation/ or the Tiverton Land Trust, P.O. Box 167, Tiverton, RI http://www.tivertonlandtrust.org/support-the-trust/membership.html
For information and condolences, www.waring-sullivan.com