December 30, 1999
Here we come with some more Perry-connected people who could be on our list of "top ten" for this millennium, if there were such a list. I arbitrarily chose all of them on the basis of their achievement in some field, and you may not agree. That's OK. Now, here's the second installment.
Dr. R.R. Robinson. This former Perry school superintendent later became president of the Tonkawa University Preparatory College (now Northern Oklahoma College) and later president of what was then Central State Teachers College in Edmond, now the University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Robinson guided Perry schools during the difficult, formative years after the Cherokee Strip land opening.
David Lilienthal. Strictly speaking, not a resident here, but we claim a close connection. A Perry Journal story in 1939 had this to say: "David Lilienthal, the stormy petrel of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), the man whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt depends on to tame all the utilities, is married to a former Perry girl. Mrs. Lilienthal is the former Helen Lamb, daughter of W .S.. Lamb, pioneer Perry abstractor and former partner of J.E. Dolezal. Mrs. Lilienthal is a graduate of Perry schools and taught in the system here for several years. She left here in the early 1920s to attend DePauw University in Indiana, where she met the famous liberal." After World War II, he was the first chairman of the newly formed Atomic Energy Commission. He visited here in the home of Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Treeman before his death in 1981. Lilienthal was a brash young lawyer of 32 when he was summoned by President Roosevelt to serve on the first TVA board of directors. He was on the board 13 years.
Dr. Joseph Brandt. I may need some help with this. Dr. Brandt was president of the University of Oklahoma prior to World War II, and his wife was the daughter of the late Mrs. Maud Long of Perry. Dr. Brandt was an intellectual and at one time was head of the OU Press, a highly regarded publishing house. His background included training in journalism. He was usually seen wearing tweeds and smoking a pipe. I had the opportunity to interview him once when he came here to visit Mrs. Long, who lived in our neighborhood at the time. We had a cordial visit.
William E. Jones. Bill Jones was a Noble county farm boy who earned an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He became a general in the Air Force and in 1939 survived a plane crash in Panama. My files lack additional information, but I remember a brother, Freeman Jones, who clerked at a Perry grocery store prior to WWII. Gen. Jones was a frequent visitor in Noble county when his responsibilities permitted.
Clara Bowles Pellow. She was the daughter of Judge and Mrs. William A. Bowles. Her father was a distinguished attorney and jurist, one of several prominent members of the Noble county bar. Mrs. Pellow was well known nationally as a radio and concert singer in the 1930s. Most of the Bowles family were accomplished musically, but Mrs. Pellow had a successful career in the field.
Patti Page. This highly successful singer is not from Perry but we will claim her on the grounds that her brother, Dan Fowler, spent much of his time here while employed in oil field work. Patti visited here with Mr. and Mrs. Fowler and their children. She wanted to come here for a concert during one of our Cherokee Strip celebrations but union wage requirements placed her beyond our budget. We still feel like she's one of us.
More of these are coming soon. Stay tuned.