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Perry Richardson Bass

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FORT WORTH — Perry Richardson Bass, a wealthy oilman who turned his riches into a philanthropic gold mine for Fort Worth, the state and the country, died Thursday morning at his home in Westover Hills. He was 91.

The death of Bass brings a closing chapter to one of the most colorful, well-known and generous personalities in Fort Worth history.

He represented a Texas of old, working from the 1930s to the 1950s with his maverick uncle, famed wildcatter Sid W. Richardson, then ushered in the prowess of today’s financial world by guiding his four sons, each proven fortune-builders in their own right — equalled by few.

Bass contributed to Little League teams and presidential campaigns, helped rebuild a deteriorating downtown Fort Worth into an urban center of critical acclaim, and pumped millions into museums and music halls.

A former chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Bass was described as one of the “most conscientious” conservationists in the state, and he championed a law that helped preserve the population of redfish and spotted seatrout in the Texas’ coastal waters.

He also helped retarded children who lived near his oil fields.

Bass’ death stunned members of the community and the state who had grown accustomed to his resiliency.

“Perry R. Bass was one of a handful of Fort Worth’s greatest citizens, and his death is an irreplaceable loss to the community and to the state,” said attorney Dee Kelly, the oilman’s longtime lawyer and friend.

“He and Nancy Lee and their sons have done so much to make the lives of all Texans better, especially for those of us who live in Fort Worth,” Kelly said.

Bass was a “tower of strength for this region,” according to former Tarrant County Judge Tom Vandergriff, who went “the extra mile for our community, and challenged us to attempt to follow in his footsteps.”
Published in Star-Telegram on June 1, 2006
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