Amherst Magazine

Amherst College In Memory Notice

Dave Perry


Amherst, Spring, 2011

DAVID L. PERRY ’63

David L. Perry majored in History, and pledged Beta, where he served as social chairman, house manager, and VP. After graduating from UC-Berkeley School of Law, he joined Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. in Oakland, at age 43 becoming VP and General Counsel.

One cannot fully capture multi-faceted and larger-than-life Dave Perry. He demonstrated an extraordinary ability to rifle his attention on a particular task, and shut out all distractions. For example, he took no notes during Bucky Salmon’s course on WWII; subsequently, he helped Bucky grade papers. Dave bridged the gulf “twixt town and gown” in singular ways. He befriended the Beta custodian. He often helped close up Joe’s Diner, a small railroad-car-sized joint wedged in the back of an alleyway, where he relished talking with local characters Brad, Frenchy, the Senator, and the Rat Catcher.

The library in Dave’s apartment atop

California St.
in San Francisco featured cookbooks. He attended the Cordon Bleu school and spent vacations recreating historic meals. He declared, “If you had said to me while at Amherst that one day I would be passionately involved in translating an antique French cookbook I would have thought you mad or drunk.”

Dave exhibited unquenchable curiosity, a zest for good living, quiet philanthropy, and a deep respect for humanity. He reveled in weaving long and detailed accounts of his own experiences, historical events, business adventures, and gourmet delights. He always had time to talk, and to listen. He was a loyal friend to many. Dave was cheerful and friendly, charming and witty. Anyone who emailed this unmatched raconteur and gastronome these past few years discovered his address:  Jacta alea est. “The die is cast,” declared Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon. The Commodore has followed. He left us on Jan. 23, 2011 at age 70 from congestive heart failure and metastatic prostate cancer.

––Dick Brainard ‘63
––Gregg Brumm ‘63
––Steve Grant ‘63