Perry served as Marshall’s president for six months, leaving office at the end of the year, when Dan Angel took office.
“Mike had an unbelievable passion for life, his family, his church, Marshall University, Huntington and the state of West Virginia; and, for the wonderful Heritage Farm Museum and Village, which he built over the past 40-plus years,” said Marshall Interim President Gary G. White. “What a wonderful treasure he has left us! He talked so often about our Appalachian heritage, and what it means to all of us. But, he didn’t just tell us about it; he lived it.”
Perry, the son of Austin L. Perry and Virginia (Cole) Perry, was born in Huntington, West Virginia, on May 31, 1936. He graduated with a B. A. from Marshall College in 1958, then attended West Virginia University, where he earned his law degree in 1961 at the top of his class. He practiced law for 20 years, then turned to banking. He was chairman and CEO of Bank One of West Virginia until his retirement in 2001.
“There isn’t another individual who did more for this region over the last 50 years than Mike Perry,” said Jack Houvouras, publisher of Huntington Quarterly and Marshall Magazine. “More than a powerful leader, his life was also defined by faith, family and friendships. On a personal note, I will miss Mike, who was both a friend and mentor. I have never met a finer man in my life.”
Perry was a charter member of the Marshall’s College of Business Hall of Fame. Some of the other recognition he received included the West Virginia Bankers Association’s “Banker of the Decade;” the Huntington Herald Dispatch’s “Citizen of the Year” (twice); and the “Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year in 1996” by the West Virginia – NSFRE National Philanthropy.
He is survived by his wife, Henriella Mylar Perry, their three children, and eight grandchildren.