Vail Daily obituary: Tony Perry, 1937-2017
Tony Perry died Jan. 21 peacefully in his beloved Colorado home in the arms of his loving family.
To find words to summarize Tony’s life is daunting, as he accomplished so much. He was a complex man, memorable and loved.
He was born May 13, 1937, in Greenwich, Connecticut, the son of Margaret and Parker Perry, and spent his early years in Stowe and Manchester, Vermont. He followed his heart to the mountains of Colorado at 16 to a newly organized Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. This environment nurtured his independent, adventuresome character, where he worked, skied, traveled and earned a ski scholarship to The University of Denver, excelling at athletics and hotel management. He struggled with dyslexia and became very adept at recognizing the skills he lacked, surrounding himself with capable people to help him accomplish his goals. He went on to help others with this affliction to follow a successful path.
A born entrepreneur, his charm and interest in people drew him to the hospitality business soon after college. After a short stint in the Colorado National Guard, he opened nightclubs in New York, Stowe and Manchester, Vermont, and later turned his attention to the restaurant business. The Sirloin Saloons, Dakotas, Sweetwaters, Perry’s Fish House — all institutions representing beauty, fun, great food and lasting memories for the millions who entered their doors.
During the four decades that he ran his many restaurants throughout the Northeast, he employed thousands of people through The Perry Restaurant Group, and evolved a management style that was years ahead of its time. He took a deep and abiding interest in the people he worked with, recognizing that by giving them the opportunity to grow and succeed as individuals, their contribution to the business would develop. He put in place an employee stock ownership plan in the 1980s where all employees could benefit; he sent people on courses that helped them empower their lives rather than just their jobs, and he developed an inclusive style of management that engendered immense loyalty to this day.
He supported generously many causes close to his heart — he educated countless children, supported green start-ups, wildlife conservation, The Vermont Land Trust, Nature’s Conservancy, music and the arts.
He was a born seeker and adventurer, traveling to over 50 countries, often bringing along his friends and family to share his experiences. He heli-skied throughout the Canadian Rockies, he was an avid fisherman and hunter, at home in the woods as anywhere. He raised a herd of majestic buffalo on his hilltop farm in Vermont with sweeping views of Lake Champlain from his rustic log cabin he built around an apple tree.
He amassed a matrix of friends as diverse as his interests, most who he remained connected to throughout his life. He had a genuine and lasting impact on so many, freely giving love, support and confidence where he felt he was needed. So many thought of him as their best friend.
Tony was profoundly connected to nature and beauty. His love and appreciation of the Native American culture and art form was a passion that brought him endless pleasure.
He was tireless in his quest for the meaning of life, periodically trading his business work for his spiritual journey, moving to an ashram for a time to find fulfillment and love. His pursuit led him to his soul mate, and he and Teri were married in 1995.
For 22 years, they traveled and skied and fly-fished around the world. They built wonderful homes in Colorado, Mexico and Nantucket, and mostly they enjoyed their transcendent love for each other every day.
His sanctuary was his Colorado mountain ranch, high in the wildflowers, where he built his “Stonehenge” as a legacy. However, his true legacy will last for eternity in the lives that have been altered by his love.
Tony was spiritual, funny, loving and so immeasurably generous.
He lived and died with unequalled courage undaunted by his illnesses, and full of gratitude.
He leaves behind a world enriched by his presence. He is survived by his sister, Judy Perry Rowe, and his nieces, Wendy, Jane and Jenny, his stepson Kenan, Miya and his wonderful grandchildren, Jack, Eliza and Sebastian, who brought special joy to his later years. His extended family are too numerous to mention, but no less important — forever connected in love. Not left behind, but traveling beside him for eternity is his adoring wife, Teri Giguere Perry.
Please honor nature in memory of Tony.
A celebration of Tony’s life will be held March 9 at The Sonnenalp Club in Edwards from 1 to 4 p.m.
On June 4, a gathering in his memory will be held at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn in Shelburne, Vermont, from 1 to 4 p.m.
We have set up a website online at http://www.tonyperry.life to share memories, photos and information of his services.