A Costa Mesa mom

May 11, 2003

Lolita Harper

The lively chatter and hearty laughs coming from the picturesque home

on Fullerton Avenue are typical when the Perry family gets together.

On Thursday, the large family came together to honor their mother,

and among the good-natured ribbing and loving teasing was genuine

gratitude for Joan Perry's hard work.

"The neatest thing about her was that she raised all six kids by


herself," daughter Lindsay Iverson said.

"And juggled two jobs," daughter Stephanie De La Cruz added.

"And we all gave her hell," daughter Allison Khademi said.

And so went the conversations in the bustling Perry home. With

four of the six grateful children sitting in their mother's

skillfully decorated living room, the dialogue was as colorful as the


Perry sat quietly, receiving the praise from her children, while

adding her own accounts.

"All you can do is be the best mother you can be," Perry said.

"And if you make a mistake, just go on and make a new one."

The mother of six has lived in Costa Mesa all her life. She

recently inherited the family home in the 1900 block of Fullerton

Avenue. The house, originally built by Charles TeWinkle, was her

aunt's home, then her mother's and now it is hers, she said.

She was one of the first Orange Coast College cheerleaders, her

children said.

"Well, yes, I was a song leader," Perry said.

She owned her own modeling agency, and the Doobie Brothers, Bill

Medley and Bobby Hatfield would always visit, they said.

"They would entertain there regularly," the petite blond said.

She used to hang out with movie stars and surf with them, her

children said. The first Tarzan, Johnny Weismuller, would meet her by

the pier.

"Well, we bodysurfed," Perry said. "We used to meet at the pier

and jump off at the T, which we weren't supposed to do. He would come

down with his cronies and we would surf together."


After her exciting youth, Perry turned her attention to

child-rearing and business. She gave swim lessons, owned a cosmetic

line, had an antique store in Victoria Beach and, of course, the

modeling agency, Jo Jordan's.

Her children said they learned many things from their mother's

energetic business ventures and watched her succeed in practically

every aspect.

"I've done everything," Perry said. "You name it, I've done it."

As her children showered her with compliments, she tried to return

the gesture by bragging about the multitude of accomplishments among


"Mom, this is about you not us," Jon Perry said.

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