Fernance Perry MBE (1921-2014)
Friends and family have paid tribute to one of Bermuda’s most celebrated and well respected businessmen who died this week.
Fernance Perry passed away in Atlanta on Thursday, just two days after his 93rd birthday.
Mr Perry was renowned for running the Piggly Wiggly shop and expanding the small corner store into a grocery empire that is now part of the MarketPlace Group.
He first arrived in Bermuda as a young child in 1926 with his parents, Manuel and Emily, from the Azores.
Mr Perry was the eldest of five brothers, Manuel, Frank, John, Joe and Donald and two sisters, sisters Esther and Mary, and the siblings grew up in the Devonshire Spring Road area.
His brothers described him as a “dedicated family man”.
Joe Perry, told The Royal Gazette: “Fernance was the provider. He helped raise us all and he always looked out for us.
“He worked for Dunkley’s for many years and then moved to Miles as a butcher.
“Every penny he earned he would bring home and spend on providing for his family.
He added: “Fernance never worried about a watch. If there was work to be done he would get it done.
“He was stern with his staff, but always fair and professional.
“He was an incredibly hard worker both physically and spiritually. More than anything he was a good man.
“Fernance always showed a great example. When he first set up he did not have any funds and no one gave him anything.
“But he built everything up from scratch and never borrowed money. What he has left behind all comes from hard work.”
Meanwhile John Perry, who worked with brother for 30 years, said: “He practically brought the bread in for the rest of the family.
“He was the head man in the family. He was like a second dad.
“Fernance was honest and faithful. When he worked for Miles he always made sure we had a turkey for Christmas.
“He took care of a lot of people in his life, but he never bragged about it or anything like that.
“What he did was between him and the Lord.”
Mr Perry served with the Bermuda Rifle Corps in the Second World War. When he returned to the Island he entered the grocery business, purchasing the Piggly Wiggly with Samuel Pimental.
Mr Perry served as the Chairman of the Bermuda Hospitals Board from 1989 to 1991 when more than $13.8m in improvements were completed. In recognition of his contribution to healthcare on the Island the Harbour Ward was renamed the Perry Ward.
Mr Perry was the majority shareholder with the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, which owns both ZBM and ZFB. He was also chairman and CEO of Mayfair Ltd, a holding company, and majority owner of real estate management firm Devonshire Properties.
In 2006, he was named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen.
Long-time friend and former employee, Bobby Barton, 86, said: “Fernance was a man who knew what he wanted and he worked hard to get it.
“He always had his eyes firmly set on future and he made it happen.
“If it was not for him I would have never owned a home. What he did for his brothers he also did for me.
“Fernance was a man who worked his way all the way to the top. He spoke his mind and people respected him for that.”
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