August 22, 2018

Obituaries 8/22/18

Alfred R. Perna

Alfred R. Perna, 81, of Lawrenceville, passed away on Friday, August 10, 2018, at Princeton Care Center, Princeton.

Born on October 12, 1936 in Pettoranello Di Molise, Italy, Alfred grew up in Italy during World War II. In 1951 Alfred immigrated to the United States to join his father and brother in Princeton, becoming a citizen in 1958. From 1954 to 1962 Alfred served in the Army National Guard as part of 53rd Armor. On October 29, 1960 Alfred married Irene L Mazur. He also began work at RCA Laboratories as a plumber in 1960 and would remain with RCA for over 15 years, developing many lifelong friendships.

In 1975, he became the co-owner of Mazur Nursery with his wife Irene. In 1976, Alfred and Irene opened Perna’s Plant and Flower Shop in West Windsor. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Mazur Nursery was one of the leading wholesale and retail bedding plant nursery establishments. In 1991, they decided to focus on their local retail customers, offering the broadest and largest and most unique selection of annuals, perennials, and vegetables in the area. Alfred continued to actively lead the nursery through 2016, taking great enjoyment and pride in growing the types and varieties of plants the customers came to appreciate. Alfred could be counted on to always be at the checkout counter providing gardening advice, guidance, and good conversation to their customers. Always willing to give anyone a chance to work, Alfred served as the first employer for many young men and women, teaching them the virtue of hard work and persistence. Many of these people would routinely come back to visit with Alfred over the years to catch up and share stories of their time working at the nursery. When not working at his business, Alfred enjoyed traveling with his wife, going to the horse races, visiting Atlantic City, dining out, and watching and attending NASCAR races. Alfred also belonged to M.S. Roma Eterna, Princeton Italian American Sportsman Club, Knights of Columbus, Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Department, and the NJ Nurseryman’s Association.

Predeceased by his parents, Nicola and Irena (née Rossi) Perna, his wife Irene M. Perna, two brothers Anthony R. Perna and Michael J Perna, his sister Olimpia T. Perna; he is survived by his son, Steven Perna and wife Maria; his daughter Sarah Conte and husband Scott; grandchildren, Nicole, Michael, and Christina Conte.

Funeral services for Alfred were held on Monday, August 20, 2018 at 9 a.m. at Poulson & Van Hise Funeral Directors, 650 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.

Interment followed at St. Hedwig Cemetery, Ewing, NJ.

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Arrangements were under the direction of Poulson & Van Hise Funeral Directors, Lawrenceville, NJ.