Donald Perry, vice-president of corporate public relations for the Chick-fil-A company, has died of a heart attack. His death occurred early yesterday morning, 27th July 2012.
Mr Perry who was only 60 years old was under huge stress because of the malicious campaign being waged against the Chick-fil-A company merely because its boss Don Cathy had been quoted as saying he endorsed family values and traditional marriage. Furious homosexuals all over America ranted and denounced Cathy and the Chick-fil-A company, and organized a boycott among left-wingers. They bombarded Cathy and all the executives of Chick-fil-A with hate-mail and death threats on the internet and Twitter. Hysterical Green Party leader Roseanne Barr screeched on Twitter that anybody who ate at Chick-fil-A deserved to die! (How’s that for “hate-speech”?)
The gay extremists even persuaded the Mayors of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco to announce that they would ban the franchise from their cities. This is surely unconstitutional but it heralded an ugly legal battle ahead. Don Perry was under terrible strain and it is no exaggeration to say that he was being bullied to death. Then the fatal heart attack struck. He leaves a grieving wife and family.
Don Perry, 60: Chick-fil-A public relations VP
Those who knew Don Perry could quickly identify the three things he held closest to his heart.
“Most of all he was a committed Christian man, secondly he loved his family and third would have to be Chick-fil-A,” said Jason Perry, the second of his three sons, who lives in Lithonia. “He loved the food, the people, the brand, all the way to Mr. Cathy himself.”
Mr. Perry spent the better part of 30 years in public relations for the Atlanta-based fast food chain, which suited him just fine, friends and family said.
S. Truett Cathy, founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A, called Mr. Perry, “a vital part of Chick-fil-A and our growth for 29 years.”
“He always had a smile and a cheerful spirit,” he continued in a prepared statement. ” I will dearly miss him.”
Donald Augustus Perry, called Don by most, of Lithonia, died suddenly Friday morning after experiencing medical distress at home. He was 60. A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Hillcrest Church of Christ, Decatur. Burial will follow at Hillandale Memorial Gardens, Lithonia. Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, South DeKalb Chapel, is in charge.
At the time of his death, Mr. Perry was the vice president of corporate public relations for Chick-fil-A. Born in Clyattville, in Lowndes County, Mr. Perry graduated from University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism. He wanted to be a journalist, but took a job in public relations with General Electric after he graduated in the early ’70s, his son said.
In 1972 Mr. Perry married the former Marilyn Baker, and the couple would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in September, their son said. As their family grew to include their three sons, Mr. Perry decided he wanted to get back to Georgia. His job at GE had taken them to Louisville, Ky., Fairfax, Va., back to Louisville and could have sent the family packing again, Jason Perry said.
“He interviewed with Coke and Chick-fil-A,” his son said. “And he chose Chick-fil-A.”
Many who came into contact with Mr. Perry over the years recall his generous nature and warm smile.
Glen Jackson, co-founder of Jackson Spalding, a local PR firm, said Mr. Perry’s “love for others was so genuine. He was highly respected in our profession and will be deeply missed in our field.”
Susan Rosenberg, public relations director at UPS said, “Beyond Don’s skills as a PR strategist and consensus builder, I just want to flag his friendliness and general good cheer to focus a meeting’s attention with a gentle manner and humor.”
Jason Perry said his dad was perfect for the career he chose, adding, “My dad enjoyed people, he enjoyed making people smile, and he enjoyed presenting Chick-fil-A as a brand.”
The younger Mr. Perry said he often saw his father handing out cards for complimentary sandwiches.
“Whenever anybody did anything for him, he’d give them a card, invite them to Chick-fil-A and create a good customer experience for them,” Jason Perry said. “I never saw him without those cards, and I knew where his stash was here in the house, so he always had some on hand.”
In addition to his wife and middle son, Mr. Perry is also survived by sons Brandon Perry of Lithonia and Donald “Kris” Perry of Atlanta; and one grandson.