Fred E Perry

Dec 15, 1924 – Aug 26, 2016

Fred E Perry obituary image 1
Fred E Perry obituary image 2
Fred E Perry obituary image 3
Fred E Perry obituary image 4
Fred E Perry obituary image 5
Fred E Perry obituary image 6
Fred E Perry obituary image 7
Fred E Perry obituary image 8
Fred E Perry obituary image 9
Fred E Perry obituary image 10

More Photos


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.


Brenda and John Turley
Rancho Mirage, CA
Sep 10, 2016

We were honored and blessed to have known Fred. He was such a kind and caring man, always smiling during our brief times together, he will be missed. We can only imagine what a true blessing he was in all of your lives and how much you will miss him. We truly enjoyed reading his story, such an accomplished man, although I'm sure he felt his family was probably his greatest. We pray the love of those around you bring you comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead.

Much Love to you all, Brenda and John

Dale and Carolyn Peacock
Covington, Ok
Sep 10, 2016

We are so sorry for your loss of Fred. I know this a tough time. Fred had such a sweet spirit and was so patient with all of us little Oklahoma heathens. We wanted to go riding in his Triumph sports car, one at a time, over and over, and he did it with a smile. Fred was a wonderful man and I am sure he will be greatly missed by your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Lucy Peek
Surprise, AZ
Sep 9, 2016

Doll, Marta and family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. In the years that Tyler was growing up, and the functions he participated in, is where I first met Fred. I enjoyed speaking with him, and always enjoyed the stories that Marta would relay.

Harry Ralph Fox
Dws Moines, WA
Sep 7, 2016

iFred and I both went to the same University and both worked at Boeing, we never met until retirement. I didn't know him well, but we did chat some. I liked him, wish we had talked more. I will miss him.

Kathy and roger glaser
Lake oswego, Or
Sep 7, 2016

We are sorry about the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. Donna and lew are good friends - we wish you the best. Kathy and Roger

This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.