Ryan Perina recently drove 50 miles, roundtrip, to help a friend with a flat tire.
Perina, who on Kennedy Road, was memorialized as a tough athlete, a friend whose antics made mundane workdays fun, and the type of kid who would loan you lunch money if you needed it. Perina’s funeral was Wednesday morning.
His friend Andy remembered him joking years ago that Andy’s mom had paid him $100 to let Andy win an important wrestling match. The referee ended up telling them to stop talking.
“He had that freak strength and that explosive power,” Andy said. “He had so much passion, he’d never give up.”
Perina’s former wrestling coach Shane Darnell couldn’t attend the service, but Barry Norris, senior pastor at Park Place Baptist Church in Montgomery, relayed that Darnell thought Perina was “the toughest-minded kid he ever coached.” Darnell also remembered him as a tough kid who always wanted to make people laugh and help them out, Norris said.
Photographs displayed at showed him as a teenager, surrounded by people, arms open and accepting, his smile slight with a mischivious upturn.
An old tournament bracket and one medal after another also were displayed. He was a wrestling club member from 5th through 8th grade and then spent four years on Yorkville High School’s wrestling team and two years on the baseball team before graduating in 2009, . Most recently, he was working with his dad’s construction business, C.W. White and Son, Inc.
His brother, Zachary Oster, said he was proud of Perina, and he knew Perina returned the sentiment.
“People wish they had one ounce of strength, dignity and honor that Ryan had,” Oster said. “He accomplished more than most people accomplish in a lifetime.
Norris, of Park Place Baptist Church, didn’t know Perina, but he complimented the personality he saw in the photo display and the stories family and friends had told. He encouraged family and friends to use the grieving process to celebrate his life and to examine themselves – their relationships with each other and their relationships with God.
“We cannot change what happened, but we can change ourselves,” Norris said.