Deere worker killed in accident remembered with vigil - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Deere worker killed in accident remembered with vigil


WATERLOO (KWWL)-- A young woman living out her dream as an engineer for John Deere was remembered Monday night.  23-year-old Rochelle Perry was killed March 10 after she lost control of a tractor and hit a utility pole while driving from one John Deere plant to another.

Family and friends gathered Monday night for a vigil in Perry's memory at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Waterloo. 

At age 23, Rochelle Perry was living out her dream as an engineer at John Deere in Waterloo.  Even after moving to the Midwest, she stayed in close contact with her family in New York.  Her dad recalled the most recent phone call home when Rochelle asked for some advice.

"There was a girlfriend of hers and her boyfriend, and they hadn't been dating very long, but the boyfriend's grandmother had died and she wanted to know if she should send flowers," Rochelle's father, David Perry said.

Little did he know that soon people would be sending flowers to remember his daughter Rochelle after a tractor accident claimed her life.

"It's a big hole--a big empty space in our heart," Rochelle's mother, Annette Perry said.

The Perry's say it's been a very tough time, but they've tried to stay strong.  And they're doing all they can to ensure Rochelle's kind heart and love for her field of work lives on through others.  So they've asked memorial donations be made to a scholarship fund in her honor.

"She was always good in school and she knew the importance of an education.  She made it through Rochester Institute of Technology in 5 years with a master's degree.  And we just want to keep her memory alive at the high school she went to for a scholarship for other kids maybe going into engineering," Annette Perry said.

And that's not the only legacy Rochelle Perry leaves behind.  She was also an organ donor.  And at her memorial services, Rochelle's family displayed organ donor information and had organ donor bracelets and pins for those attending to encourage them to declare their final gift as one that could give life to others.

Rochelle's organ donation will help some of the more than 110,000 people waiting for an organ every day.  In fact, 18 people die each day waiting for an organ.  And just one organ donor can save up to eight lives.  Last year alone, donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible.

Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor.  There is no cost to donors or their families for organ or tissue donation.  You can sign up to be a donor while getting your driver's license renewed, or by visiting  Once there, just click "register online."

Obituary for Rochelle Perry:

Rochelle Nicolette Perry, 23, formerly of Parish, NY, died Thursday in Iowa from a work-related accident.  She resided in Waterloo, Iowa, where she worked as an engineer for the John Deere Corporation.  She graduated from APW High School in 2005 and Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science and a master's degree in industrial engineering in 2010. She volunteered for various organizations in the Waterloo area, including the food bank, and even taught Junior Achievement classes to grade-school children. She was also an active member of the Jaycees.  She was a founding member of the Cedar Valley Society of Women Engineers and belonged to the Institute of Industrial Engineers.  She was a member of St. Edward's Catholic Church in Waterloo and a former communicant of St. Anne's Catholic Church in Parish.  Rochelle loved life, reading, traveling, music, Facebook, tweeting and being connected to her friends and family.  She was predeceased by her grandparents, Joseph and Evelyn Perry. She is survived by her parents, David and Annette Perry; brother, Nathaniel Perry; and grandparents, Kenneth and Cecelia Dayger of Parish.  Survivors also include several aunts, uncles and cousins.  Contributions can be made to a scholarship fund in her memory, c/o KeyBank (Perry), 2976 W. Main Street, Parish, NY 13131 or Parish Public Library, 3 Church Street, Parish, NY 13131.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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