Fred E Perry
Dec 15, 1924 – Aug 26, 2016
Fred was born in Boardcamp, Arkansas on December 15, 1924 to Euris Perry and May (Clark) Perry. He grew up in McClain County Oklahoma where he moved at the age of 4 with his mother and sister Helene. Fred passed away of natural causes on August 26, 2016 at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Novella (True) Perry. They have resided at Judson Park, Des Moines, WA since 2008.
Fred served in the Navy in WWII as an Aviation Machinist's Mate Second Class, and in 1949 he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering. That same year he moved his family to Seattle and began a distinguished career with the Boeing Company. In 1954, Fred received his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. His master's thesis was on the theory and application of transistors.
Fred worked 43 years at Boeing, most of them in the Aerospace Division as part of a pioneering team that developed rocket science in the United States. He worked on a variety of programs at Boeing, including missile defense and space exploration rocketry. His longest assignment at Boeing was as Chief Engineer of the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) rocket program, a program that developed an upper stage rocket to deliver payloads from low earth orbit for military and commercial projects as well as NASA space explorations. Among the 24 IUS program missions, the IUS successfully deployed defense payloads, communication satellites (including during the Persian Gulf War), the Magellan satellite to Venus, the Galileo satellite to Jupiter and its moons, and the Ulysses satellite to the polar regions of the sun. Fred was at Cape Canaveral when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and he worked with NASA as a member of the investigative team that determined the cause of the explosion. Fred knew and worked with many of the NASA astronauts. Fred retired from Boeing in 1992. The IUS rocket was used for many years after he retired. The final IUS launch was in 2004 and deployed a US Air Force Defense Support satellite.
After retiring, Fred enjoyed gardening and reading (e.g., technical journals, the Wall Street Journal, Burpee Seed Catalogs, biographies, and the occasional spy thriller). He vacationed annually in Hawaii with his family and was a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Huskies. He was always a remarkably humble and quiet man despite his professional achievements. He had a very dry sense of humor and one of his favorite quotes was, “It's not what you want that makes you happy, it's what you get,” (often used to the dismay of his daughters).
Fred is survived by his wife Novella, daughters Donna Delo (Lew) and Marta Dickerson (Rich), grandchildren Lydia Kirkland (Joe), Tyler Dickerson (Tasha), great grandsons Dexter and Christopher, and his sister Helene Hoover in Arizona and her extended family.
Remembrances to the Judson Park Endowment Fund.
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