Harold Lee Perdue, Jr.
Macon, GA- Harold Lee Perdue, Jr., age 53, died Friday, January 31, 2014. A family visitation will be held from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Thursday, February 6, 2014 at Mercer University's Newton Hall. A memorial service will be 3:00 p.m. Friday, February 7, 2014 in the adjacent Willingham Auditorium. There will be no visitation at the residence.
Harold Lee Perdue, Jr. was born on August 19, 1960 in Macon, Georgia as the only son of veteran educators Harold Lee Perdue and Carol Holiday Perdue. He attended the public schools of Bibb County and graduated with honors from Northeast High School in 1978 where he won numerous academic awards and held membership is a variety of academic organizations including the National Honor Society and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. He was the first person in the history of Northeast to serve as editor-in-chief of the yearbook staff as a junior and later served as advisor to the staff during his senior year when he also served as a member of the newspaper staff. During his senior year he was named recipient of the Soroptimist International Youth Citizenship Award and was a participant in the first-ever Golden Eagle Awards, sponsored by The Macon Telegraph and News (now The Macon Telegraph). He was valedictorian of his Northeast-Mark Smith class and was a graduation speaker. He wrote the words and composed the music to Northeast's alma mater, which was formally adopted in 1980 and is still the official anthem of the school today.
At age 16 he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and in 1976 he had to undergo extensive surgery at the world-renowned Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Although followed for many decades by his physicians in New York, his chemotherapy and radiation treatments were coordinated by Emory University in Atlanta—first at the pediatric hematology/oncology section and later at what is now known as the Winship Cancer Institute. In 1977 when he entered the Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children (now Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston) to begin treatment, he became the first black pediatric cancer patient at Emory.
He continued his post-secondary education at Emory University in Atlanta, where he received an academic scholarship. He later returned home to Macon to continue his studies at Mercer University because of the debilitating treatment for his cancer, as well as the ever-increasing side effects. With a major in sociology and communications, as well as a minor in journalism, he later received his B.A. degree cum laude from Mercer University's College of Liberal Arts.
Immediately after graduation, he briefly served as public relations director at the family-owned Triangle Chemical Company, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee and later began producing commercial art first under the name H. Lee Perdue Design Group and later under the banner Perdue and Associates, LLC/Designing Leaders. Over the decades he produced creative material for a number of businesses and not-for-profit organizations. He was also the first marketing manager for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Because of his interest in youngsters and with help from fellow Northeast alumni, he established The Northeast Diplomats in 1988. Composed of some of the brightest students, they serve as the school's official ambassadors. This effort led to the 1988 formation of Teen Partners, a pilot program of the Macon-Bibb County Interracial Council and composed of students at Northeast, as well as Stratford Academy, to address and discuss the issue of race relations. As a result of this project, he was asked to serve as an adjunct faculty member at Stratford Academy in 1990 and 1991—and was the first person of color in the history of the school to teach there.
He graduated from Leadership Macon, a program of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, in 1989. In 1992 he completed Leadership Georgia, an affiliate of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In 1994 he established Youth Leadership Bibb County which became a model program for communities throughout the state and nation. He was also a former adjunct faculty member of the University of Georgia Fanning Institute (formerly the University of Georgia J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership).
He has served as a member of the board of directors or the board of trustees of the American Cancer Society, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Georgia, the Harriet Tubman Museum (now the Tubman African-American Museum), the Historic Macon Foundation, Leadership Macon, the Macon Arts Alliance, the Macon-Bibb County Humane Society, Macon Little Theatre, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, Meals on Wheels of Macon and Bibb County, and Youth Leadership Bibb County. He also served as a member of the editorial board of 13WMAZ Television, Macon's Gannett-owned CBS affiliate. He was also the first participant to later serve as a judge in the Golden Eagle Awards, sponsored annually by The Macon Telegraph, where he later wrote pieces that appeared on the opinion-editorial page as one of the paper's community columnists.
In 2007 he was given the prestigious E. Dale Threadgill Community Service Award—one of four honors given annually by the Leadership Georgia Foundation. In 2008 he was given an alumni service award from programming officials of the Leadership Georgia Foundation for his efforts with the Macon area program.
Although his childhood years were spent at Macon's historic Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church (USA), he was a lifelong member of the Howard United Church of Christ-Congregational in Nashville, Tennessee. Locally he also attended Northminster Presbyterian Church (USA) and eventually became an affiliate-member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where he was a youth camp speaker, deacon, former officer, and former regional board member. An avid historian, he researched, compiled, and authored the most complete and comprehensive history of the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church (USA).
Over the years he was beloved and respected by his former students, colleagues, and church members. His competency and his versatility were reflected in his many areas of expertise. He was exacting and demanding of perfection in the work done by his students, associates, and peers. He expected from all of them the same scrupulous honesty and integrity with which he discharged his own.
He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Perdue of Macon; his uncles and aunts, Mrs. Newton S. Holiday, Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Wiley A. and Dr. Kay S. Perdue of Atlanta, Georgia, and Mr. and Mrs. Tommy R. Perdue of Las Vegas, Nevada; and a host of cousins, relatives, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the The Perdue Trust at MidSouth Community Federal Union to be directed to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, to the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, as well as to Mercer University-Jack Tarver Library and Middle Georgia Archives at Washington Memorial Library to perpetuate collections established by the deceased.
Hutchings Funeral Home, Inc. has charge of arrangements.
Hutchings Funeral Home, Inc.
536 New Street Macon, GA 31201
Published in The Telegraph on Feb. 4, 2014