Phillip Perry ’70

30 May 2022
Phillip Perry

Class: 1970

Major: Political Science

Residence: Merritt Island, FL

Deceased: May 13, 2022


  • 2022-06-13 17:07:38
    Diane Hinton Perry '70

    Diane’s Reflections
    In Loving Memory of
    Phillip Craig Perry, Sr.

    What attracted me to Phil, besides his butterscotch eyes, was the way his mind worked. He seemed a genius to me because he had the rare ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Moreover, he knew something about everything. I kid you not. Whatever the topic of a conversation, he had something to contribute. Of course, much of this knowledge came from books, but a great deal came from TV, too. He never watched the screen passively. He would talk back, argue, critique, angrily switch channels. This brilliant man could debate both sides of an issue, and you’d have no idea which side he truly believed. When our son Phillip was a young boy, he’d ask him for his point-of-view on a particular subject, and then he’d argue with him, taking the opposite position. When Phillip would be swayed to his father’s side, Phil would then change his opinion, vehemently arguing our son’s original stance. At first, I felt appalled at how this bait and switch might be affecting our child, but he handled it well and, in this manner, Phil taught our son Phillip how to think well.

    There’s so much more I admired and appreciated about Phil. What springs to mind first is how he always encouraged and supported my independence as a woman. Early in my career, I got a big promotion that came with a significant salary increase. To congratulate me, he gave me a framed poster that read: “Behind every successful woman is a man who is surprised.” In his card, he said “I’m not that man.” When I started writing fiction in my early forties, he protected my writing time, never interrupting and making sure others did not, too. He wouldn’t let me listen to the naysayers who questioned my decision to attend graduate school in Iowa at age 45, even though our son was a junior in college. In a cargo van packed to the brim with furniture and household goods, he drove me there, helped me settle in.

    One day when I was sitting in my office at work, our son a grown man on his own then, I received a phone call from the receptionist. She said, “the biggest floral arrangement I have ever seen just arrived for you.” I sat stunned, trying to figure out who was sending me flowers and why. It wasn’t my birthday or anniversary or any holiday. The card that came with my beautiful flowers moved me to tears. In this touching note, Phil thanked me for our son Phillip and for being such a good mother. I received this precious gift on January 10th, our son’s birthday.

    For those things that interested him most, whether they be of an academic, artistic, pop culture, or religious nature, Phil would study deeply, thoroughly, and passionately. During our years at Carleton College, topics that he explored intensely included: the best stereo systems and their components (he was a walking, talking catalog); jazz (for him, Coltrane reigned supreme); and the philosopher Nietzsche (he swore critics misunderstood this man). In the early days of computers, he became self-taught, creating a long-standing career for himself in the field of Information Technology at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. For entertainment, he cherished old movies, and watched some newer ones over and over, including Patton, The Matrix, but especially The Godfather. And let me not forget his love for the TV show Star Trek, and how we stood first in line when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came to theaters in 1979. Our son would have been too young then, but I recall our threesome family attending the other Start Trek movies together.

    In his later life, loving the Lord, Phil studied the Bible with great fervor. To pursue this interest in religion, he attended East Coast Christian University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology. After he died, our son learned from his dad’s pastor that Phil had just co-taught a 12-week Bible class. I wish I could have been a student in that course. I would have keenly listened to every word this Master Teacher shared. May Papa Phil, as our two grandchildren called him, Rest in Peace.

  • 2022-07-14 21:24:12
    Richard Erickson

    I considered Phil a friend at Carleton and enjoyed our time together on the freshman basketball team. Unfortunately we totally lost contact with each other after Carleton. Thanks so much for sharing this tribute so we can better understand and appreciate Phil’s whole life, which clearly was well lived.

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