Feb. 15, 1953 – Feb. 21, 2017
Barbara S. Perry, of Hamburg, owner of the Aurora Sewing Center and a leader in the sewing field locally and nationally, died unexpectedly Tuesday in Mercy Hospital. She was 64.
Born in Buffalo, the former Barbara S. Basile grew up in Williamsville and was a graduate of Williamsville South High School.
A seamstress, she was a frequent customer at the Aurora Sewing Center store on Main Street in East Aurora and a close friend of Regis Boire, an employee and the sister of store owner Theresa Findlay.
When Findlay needed a break on Saturdays, she hired Mrs. Perry to fill in on sales and she was an immediate success.
“The first Saturday I worked by myself, I sold a sewing machine,” she told an interviewer in 2005.
After Findlay was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1990s, her sister and Mrs. Perry bought the business.
Shortly after Findlay died in 1996, the store opened in a second location on Main Street in Clarence. It also has been a staple in the Bazaar Building at the Erie County Fair for more than 20 years.
Mrs. Perry became sole proprietor in 2006. The store has won many awards and has repeatedly ranked among the top Bernina sewing machine dealers in the nation.
She founded and led the Aurora Sewing Center Sewing and Embroidery Club, which has more than 300 members. She hosted numerous sewing expos and events teaching sewing, embroidering and quilting.
An East Aurora area resident for 25 years, she moved to Hamburg in 2013.
She was a member of the East Aurora and Hamburg Chambers of Commerce and a life member of the East Aurora Moose Lodge. She also was a member of the Sewing and Vacuum Trade Association.
Survivors include her fiance, James Kelleher; a son, Scott; a daughter, Alyssa McDonell; a stepson, Alex Kelleher; a stepdaughter, Danielle LeBelle; her mother, Sue Basile; three sisters, Linda Basile-Scurci, Paula Basile and Elaina Basile; a brother, John Basile; and five grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive at Hopkins Road, Amherst.