TLR Advocate: Bob Perry – A Gentle Soul, A Patriot, A Courageous Warrior
A gentle soul, a patriot, a courageous warrior
Bob Perry was my dear friend. I worked closely with Bob for twenty years on Texas public policy and politics. He was a gentle soul, a patriot and a courageous warrior when needed. He would never back down when principal was at stake…ever.
Bob was the very definition of a servant leader. He did not ask anyone to do anything that he had not already done multiple times himself. He was a role model for those of us who had the privilege of working with him.
The Texas business community has no concept of what Bob Perry has done over the years to protect the free market system and pro-business climate that every person in this state enjoys. For the last 25 years, without complaining, Bob did the hard work and selflessly contributed to cause after cause and candidate after candidate to protect and maintain the precious liberties that we inherited from our forefathers.
Bob will be fondly remembered by the political leaders whose careers he helped build, and also by the countless orphans in foreign lands that he helped to feed, year after year, without accolades sought or received.
I will always remember Bob as a modest, humble man whose strength and conviction never wavered. He was an iconic figure, revered by all who had the privilege of knowing him. May he rest in everlasting peace.
Bob Perry: A Servant Leader
Bob Perry lived a life based on demanding much of himself, and giving much to others.
Bob was born in 1932, and grew up in a small farmhouse in rural Bosque County, Texas, in a stretch of land northwest of Waco known as the Blackstump Valley. He lived a modest childhood, built by the hard work from his father, who in turn instilled the same ethic in his children. Bob Perry’s father, W. C. Perry, worked as the principal of a small elementary school, and spent his summers picking cotton, working in construction, and pumping gas to fund his work toward the successful completion of a graduate degree in education from Baylor University. In 1943, W.C. became the principal of Meridian High School.
From an early age, Bob Perry was a charitable man with an entrepreneurial spirit. While in high school, he raised and sold rabbits, goats, sheep and banty hens, and worked at the local Meridian hospital and the local market.
After graduating from high school, Bob Perry attended Baylor, where he earned a degree in History. He spent the next ten years teaching high school history and coaching football in the Waco and the San Angelo areas. During his summers, Bob worked in construction, an occupation that he made his full- time job in 1965, when he left teaching for employment at a homebuilding company. Two years later, Bob Perry moved to Houston and began his own construction company, Perry Homes, which he built into the nation’s 35th largest homebuilder.
Along with running a successful business, Bob Perry dedicated his adult life to helping others who are in need. One example of his philanthropic activity is the sponsorship of “Casa Hogar,” an orphanage in Matamoros, Mexico. Casa Hogar houses 186 orphaned, abused, abandoned, or neglected children from ages four through eighteen. He also supports several other orphanages in South and Central America, as well as in other parts of Mexico.
Bob Perry was a firm believer in helping others, improving education, and finding an immigration solution that gives hope to those who need it most. He believed in promoting free markets, strengthening our domestic security, and promoting tax relief. He was a strong believer in tort reform and the right of every person in this country to have a fair trial.
Bob Perry is survived by his wife Doylene, and four grown children.
One of the Most Influential Texans of His Time
I have never encountered a man greater than Bob Perry. I have never known a man more humble than Bob Perry.
It is interesting that the dictionary defines humility in negatives: not proud or haughty or arrogant. It is true that Bob was none of those things, but my every thought of Bob is positive. A doer of great deeds. A man of accomplishment in every facet of life. A person of principle, who loved God, family and country. A friend you could count on.
Bob was strong and passionate and compassionate. He was forceful when needed—no person can accomplish what Bob accomplished without being forceful—but Bob’s Biblical serenity formed his character, and what one noticed about Bob was his calm spirit rather than his formidable force. But one felt both—force and calm.
God took Bob in his sleep on a Sunday morning. The Saturday afternoon before, Dick Weekley and I sat with Bob and his general counsel, Mike Brisch, for almost three hours discussing important policy issues concerning education, civil justice, immigration and social justice. Bob was in full form—engaged, vigorous and optimistic. We laid our plans and made our lists, and Bob was going into full action on Monday.
I will never forget that Saturday afternoon. Those precious final hours I spent with my friend and political ally of two decades. And I will always feel the shock and void that befell me that Sunday afternoon when I learned of Bob’s death.
Bob was one of the most influential Texans of his time. Yet he exalted himself not. In death, as in life, Bob would allow no attention to himself. At Bob’s direction, his funeral was for family only.
Cicero observed that “the life given us by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.” Bob Perry’s was a life well-spent. His memory is eternal in my heart. And in the hearts of many he touched in numerous ways, most of whom never met him and to whom he gave much and asked nothing.
Texas Leaders Speak Out on Bob Perry
“Bob Perry represented the American dream, working his way from humble beginnings as a school teacher to become one of the most prominent home builders in the country. He did more than ensure a lasting legacy in politics; he left a lasting imprint on the lives of so many through the many charitable causes he participated in. I’ve never met a more humble, honorable or selfless individual who genuinely cared about the greater good more than himself. Texas is fortunate to call Bob a native son, and he will be dearly missed by those who knew him. Our thoughts are with Doylene, his wife of more than 50 years, and the entire Perry family.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
“Bob Perry cared deeply about Texas and America and he will be missed not only in Texas, but around the globe. Born in a one- room house outside of Waco, his rise from humble beginnings will always be a testament to the limitless opportunities of our country. Despite reaching the pinnacle of business success, Bob never lost touch with his roots. A quiet, private man, he helped the neglected and the voiceless through the orphanages he sponsored throughout Latin America. Sandy and I grieve with his family and our fellow Texans over the loss of this great man.”
U.S. Senator John Cornyn
“I join the family and countless numbers of friends of Bob Perry in mourning his passing. He was a godly man, and he was one of my personal heroes. Over the course of my career in the legislature, we had many wonderful opportunities to develop a meaningful friendship; he will be sorely missed. I also had the opportunity to work with Mr. Perry on humanitarian issues. The love he had for the less fortunate was tremendous. In his life, he made an impact on thousands of people, including young orphans throughout South and Central America. I personally saw the fruits of his labors as we visited Casa Hogar orphanage in Matamoros, Mexico, which neighbors my Senate district in Brownsville. His generosity there will be felt for generations to come. Mr. Perry was a humble man who gave unselfishly. All of us can learn a lot from this man, who belonged to a conservative political party, but whose heart and generosity guided his personal policy position. His legacy will be one of service to God’s people. Because of his good works on Earth, I know he is now in union with our God. I extend my personal sympathies to Mrs. Perry and the Perry family.”
Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville
“Bob Perry was a true American patriot. He built an incredible business from the ground up, employing thousands and building homes for tens of thousands. And he gave selflessly and sacrificially to the political process. There was nobody like Bob Perry — he never wanted anything in return, other than principled, effective leaders in government. He loved this country with all his heart. Bob was an inspiration and a good friend, and he will very much be missed.”
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
“Bob Perry was a man of faith and lived his life to the fullest. He was a great humanitarian.”
State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston
“I am truly saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Perry. He was a true Texas gentleman, an American Patriot and a leader in the modern conservative movement. He was fearless when it came to principles, politics and public policy and Texas is a better place because of the legacy of Bob Perry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Perry family.”
State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, on behalf of the Texas House Republican Caucus
“For more than a decade, Bob Perry was a supporter of my campaigns and schools within my district. As an example, in November 2012, I asked his financial support for the students at Booker T. Washington High School. His reply ‘I am not familiar with the school, but I will support your objective.’ On behalf of my district, I want to thank Bob Perry for his support and his friendship.”
State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston
“When I was in high school I became aware of Bob Perry because every time a group I was involved with sent out a fundraising letter, we got a check back from Mr. Perry. I also remember him as a staunch supporter of Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul when he was a Congressman. 37 years later, as State Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, I was still receiving checks from Mr. Perry in support of the RPT. Throughout these 37 years, Mr. Perry never sought any personal benefit from the RPT or any of the groups and campaigns he supported. In fact, since the time I was a teenager I have offered to come by and thank him personally for his support but I was told that was not necessary because he gave simply because he believed in the cause. Mr. Perry was a significant reason for the resurgence of the Republican Party in my lifetime and he will be missed greatly by all those involved in the defense of liberty.”
Steve Munisteri, Chairman, Republican Party of Texas
“Bob Perry was among the most humble and hard-working people I ever met. He cared about our state, and dedicated his efforts in support of the principles he held dear. He always believed that the best opportunity a person could be afforded was that of employment and, through hard work, advancement in accordance with your efforts. He sought a business environment in Texas conducive to providing young Texans the same opportunity he was provided in the private sector, and that he so well-evidenced through his hard work and example as a business leader. I never received a call from Mr. Perry asking me to take a specific action on a bill – while in office, he asked only that I do what I perceived to be right for Texas. I always knew that he would do the same.”
Former State Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs