Eugene Perle, part-time Vail residents, dies at 67
Eugene D. Perle, a professor of geography and urban planning as well as a national champion squash player, died Sept 17 at his home of a heart attack. He was 67.
Gene grew up in New Jersey across the Hudson River from 45th street, attended Dartmouth College on a basketball scholarship, and earned his masters degree at Syracuse University and his doctorate at the University of Chicago.
He started his teaching career at Indiana University, moved to the University of Pittsburgh and then spent the last 32 years teaching in the geography and urban planning department at Wayne State University. In 1973, he was awarded a senior Fullbright scholarship to Tel Aviv University.
His greatest pleasure and inspiration in teaching came from conducting research and advising graduate students, as evidenced by his many publications, his son, Mark, said.
Vail has been a part-time residence for Gene and his family for over 35 years. Gene spent the 1976-1977 academic year on sabbatical in Vail conducting research, and he has presided as president of the Riva Ridge Condominium Association for more than 10 years.
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“Gene dealt with the fellow owners and their diverse opinions and view points and I was always marveled at his ability to get along with everybody from the construction workers and the mega-millionaires equally,” said friend RIch Brown.
Organized sports played a central role in his life from childhood on. His competitive squash career began when he was 45 at a weekend doubles tournament in Cleveland with partner Don Eugenio. Even though they got thrashed in the second round, he caught the “squash bug” and announced to his wife that he would start playing competitively the following winter, Mark said.
He joined the national squash scene in 1984 in both singles and doubles. In 1994, he won the Canadian and U.S. national singles and doubles titles in his age group, becoming the third person ever to win all four championships in one season.
Gene also played for the U.S. squash team at the Maccabiah games in Israel in 1985, 1989, and 1993, and was invited to participate on four Lapham-Grant teams representing the United States in competitions against Canada.
Gene won more national titles than anyone else in Michigan squash history, and all of these since 1990. He won 11 U.S. national doubles titles, four U.S. singles titles, five world doubles titles, five Canadian national doubles titles and two Canadian national singles titles.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sylvia Perle; son, Lawrence Mark Perle of Denver; two daughters, Kathryn Perle (Kevin Jones) of Eugene, Ore., and Lisa Perle (Kevin Warner) of Olympia, Wash.; and grandchildren, Gene Odell and Anika Serene.
Gifts may be made in memory of Eugene Perle to Friends of Dartmouth Squash and mailed to June Marshall at Dartmouth College, 6083 Alumni Gym, Hanover, NH 03755.
“Gene was just one of those comfortable people that engendered people to become better friend,” Brown said. “Many will miss Gene and it was a privilege to know and love him.”