Jack Perry

Obituary
  • "Condolences to the family.We have certainly lost the..."
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  • "Jack and I both pursued graduate studies at the Russian..."
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Jack Richard Perry DAVIDSON - Jack Richard Perry, 83, of Davidson, passed away on Feb. 16, 2014. A memorial service will be held on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Main Street, Davidson. Arrangements are being handled by Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC. Jack Perry was born on March 21, 1930, in Atlanta, the son of William Berrian Perry and Nellie Edwards Perry, both natives of Jackson County, Georgia. He was educated at the Boys' High School in Atlanta and at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1951. He served three years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Japan. Following army duty he returned to Georgia, where he worked as a news writer for The Associated Press in Atlanta, as a reporter for The Macon (Georgia) Telegraph, and as director of the news bureau at Mercer. During this time back at Mercer he met and courted Elizabeth (Betsy) Smith, whom he called "the joy and light of my life" and whom he married in Macon on June 8, 1957. From 1956 to 1959 Perry did graduate study at the Russian Institute of Columbia University in New York. The first year he was also a news writer for the Associated Press in New York. Perry received the M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia. In 1959 Perry entered the U.S. Foreign Service, where he served until 1983. He served successively at the State Department, the US Embassy in Moscow, NATO Headquarters in Paris, the US Embassy in Paris, the Soviet Desk in the State Department, the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President, then two assignments as Deputy Chief of Mission, in Prague and Stockholm, then as Deputy Executive Secretary of the State Department, and as Ambassador to Bulgaria (1979-81). He had concluding assignments as head of the Senior Seminar in Washington and as Diplomat in Residence at The Citadel in Charleston before retiring from the Foreign Service in 1983. In 1985 Perry came to Davidson College as first director of the new Dean Rusk Program in International Studies and professor of political science. He retired from this position in 1995, although he and Betsy continued to reside in Davidson, moving to The Pines in 2007. Perry also spent two years, 1997-9, teaching and administering international studies at UNC Charlotte. From 1984 on, Perry wrote numerous columns for the Charlotte Observer. He often said that being able to express his opinions freely in a newspaper with a fine tradition was one of the great privileges of his later life. Perry is survived by his beloved wife Betsy and by their four children and eight grandchildren. The children are one son, James William Perry (California), and three daughters, all of Atlanta, Leslie Perry Wingate, Jennifer Perry Karpenko, and Laura Perry Bates. The grandchildren are Ellen Perry, William Perry, Sarah Wingate, Sydney Karpenko, Emily Wingate, Zachary Karpenko, Richard Bates, and Rebecca Bates. His dauther-in-law is Elizabeth (Betsy) Hanes Perry, and his sons-in-law are Paul Karpenko and Brandon Bates. Perry is also survived by his sister, Jane Perry Adams and her husband Gerald (Atlanta). Perry wrote, after he entered his eighties, "I had a three-time blessed life. I was given a wonderful human being as my wife, with all the good things that come from marvelous children and a happy family. I was given a diplomatic career which took me to fascinations around the world, and which let me be a part of the great Cold War era in which two nuclear powers proved that by negotiation, not armed conflict, they could keep the peace. And I was given the great gift of teaching a decade at a superb college with inspiring students. I am one fortunate man." Donations may be sent to the Jack Perry Scholarship Fund, Dean Rusk Program, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28036 or Crisis Assistance, Ada Jenkins Center, P.O. Box 1842, Davidson, NC 28036. Friends may offer condolences to the family at www.raymerfh.com.

Funeral Home
Raymer Funeral Home
16901 Old Statesville Road Huntersville, NC 28078
(704) 892-9669
Funeral Home Details
Published in Charlotte Observer on Feb. 18, 2014
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