WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Alton L. Perry, 96, of 89 Gale Road, a local businessman and civic leader, died Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003, at North Adams Regional Hospital.
A gregarious man who dressed neatly and fashionably, Mr. Perry was involved in numerous civic activities. Until recently, he was to be seen on Spring Street, greeting acquaintances from his wheelchair.
Over the years, he quietly helped many talented Williamstown children gain admission to preparatory schools and colleges, and assisted them in their search for financial aid.
In 1957, Mr. Perry received the Williamstown Citizen of the Year award.
A longtime member and past president of the Williamstown Rotary Club, he was a member of the Williams College Quarterback and Williamstown Booster clubs, a former member of the Williamstown Community Chest, a trustee of Williston Berkshire Alumni Association, and former chairman of the American Red Cross of Northern Berkshire.
An avid skier and member of the National Ski Patrol, he was an organizer and member of the Stony Lodge Ski Club.
He was also a member of the Northern Berkshire Insurance Agents Association, past director of the Williamstown Savings Bank, past trustee of the North Adams Regional Hospital and a member of the Realtors Association of Berkshire County. A longtime member of the Taconic Golf Club, he was the perennial chairman of the caddies.
In 1945, Mr. Perry was chairman of a committee charged with postwar planning for the town. The panel proposed six projects: a new high school, a new municipal building, a new police headquarters, a new sewage-disposal plant, zoning, and the widening of Spring Street.
"The basic thing is to convert thinking in Williamstown to the realization that it's not a mortal sin to spend money," he said. "It's not a mortal sin for a town to owe money."
Born in Whitingham, Vt., on Aug. 24, 1906, son of Carl S. and Mary Ann Gillick Perry, he attended schools in Readsboro, Vt., and Drury High School in North Adams. He graduated as salutatorian from Williston Academy in Easthampton in 1927. He also graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he was active in school events, won several scholarships and was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity.
Mr. Perry was a member of First Congregational Church. He enjoyed singing, reading, jogging, tennis, golf, snowmobiling and the arts.
His wife, the former Maria Bennett, whom he married in September 1931, died in 1970.
He leaves two sons, Tony Perry and John Perry, both of Ojai, Calif.; two grandchildren, Maria Perry, a sophomore at the University of San Diego, and Matthew Perry of Los Angeles, and his longtime companion and godmother to his granddaughter Maria, Anne McGrail of Williamstown.
FUNERAL NOTICE — Services to celebrate the life Mr. Perry will be conducted Friday at 11 at First Congregational Church of Williamstown by the Rev. Carrie Bail, pastor. Private burial will take place in the family plot in Eastlawn Cemetery, Williamstown.
There will be no calling hours. Memorial donations are suggested for a scholarship fund that will be named in his memory at Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown.