He was born April 6, 1941 in Batavia, NY, a son of the late Marlo and Esther Buchele Perry.
Mr. Perry held a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science from Michigan State University, with a focus in Dairy Business, as well as an honorary doctorate from Buffalo State College. A lifelong resident of Akron, NY, he began his career in the family ice cream business at the age of 14. He was the third-generation Perry family member to lead the organization started by his grandfather, H. Morton Perry, dedicating his life to growing the organization. As president/CEO, he led the development of long-term business strategies and goals for Perry’s Ice Cream and oversaw all aspects of the organization until he retired.
One of his most significant achievements was the planning and execution of the move of Perry’s corporate headquarters to Ice Cream Plaza in 1982. After retiring as President/CEO in 2000, he remained involved until 2016 as Chairman, responsible for managing the Board of Directors and also acting as a consultant/advisor to the organization until his retirement to Chairman Emeritus last year. Tom’s favorite flavor was Butter Fudge Almond.
In December 1962, he married Marilyn Peterson whose support and dedication to raising their three children allowed him to focus on the family business.
Mr. Perry served the local community by volunteering his time as a member of The Akron Lions Club and Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of Akron. Through the years, he held the positions of Treasurer of the Akron Masonic Lodge, Village of Akron Mayor, and Trustee for 20 years. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Akron and Ford Gum. He was actively involved with the First United Methodist Church in Akron, NY, being a member of numerous committees throughout the years.
He was very involved in the dairy/ice cream industry, having served as the International Ice Cream Association’s (IICA) Treasurer (1989-1991). Mr. Perry also served as IICA chair from 1999-2001. He was the recipient of numerous awards, such as The Virginia Dare Award and “The President’s Award” (1963), International Ice Cream Association, “Soaring Eagle: Above & Beyond The Call of Duty” Award (2001). He was named Akron Citizen of the Year (2002) and MDA, “Humanitarian of the Year” (2003). He also received The Abraham Lincoln Leadership Award (2004). After his retirement, Mr. Perry and his wife, Marilyn divided their time between Akron, NY and Sarasota, FL. He enjoyed reading, traveling and watching Siesta Key Beach sunsets. His children were his pride and joy. He loved and cherished his grandchildren, celebrating their joys and achievements.
Tom was the cornerstone of strength in the foundation of his family. He had a combination of strong character, humble demeanor and core values of a “good man”. Everyone who knew him sensed his love of life, warmth and positive nature. He weathered the storms of life with courage and the grace that came from his deep faith in God.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by their three children, Brian (Jayne) Perry of Akron, Gayle (Robert) Denning of Clarence Center, and Marcia (Alvaro) Rodriguez of St. Charles, IL; 8 grandchildren, Jenna Perry, Leah, Paige, Lindsay, and Noah Denning, Claire, Lauren, and Rachel Rodriguez; sister, Linda (Joseph) Capan of Akron and Allyn (Marilyn) Perry of Wilson; aunt, Betty Perry Meyer of Scottsdale, AZ. Also survived by several nieces and nephews. Tom was the brother of the late Dale Perry.