Doctor leaves $2.5M endowment
Published 8:49 am Monday, September 28, 2015
Dr. E.E. Perry, a longtime Elizabethton physician, left a substantial part of his estate to a scholarship fund for deserving Carter County and Elizabethton high school seniors in need of financial assistance to attend college.
The E.E. Perry Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is in excess of $2.5 million, will be administered by the East Tennessee Foundation, which has a local affiliate.
A lifelong learner, Perry left home at the age of 17 and joined the Army. He fought in the Korean War and by the age of 21, had attained the rank of master sergeant. He was an airborne ranger.
During the Vietnam War, Perry re-entered the military as a member of the Medical Corps, retiring as a colonel.
“It is my understanding that Ed grew up very poor and struggled to get through school. It was Dr. Perry’s desire to leave the bulk of his estate to a scholarship fund to benefit deserving students, who do not have the financial means to get a college education. He was a firm believer in education,” said Atty. Bill Hampton, who along with Atty. Frank Newman, are executors of Perry’s estate.
Dr. Perry died Feb. 28. He also served as Carter County’s medical examiner.
The scholarship is open to any Carter County or Elizabethton High School senior. Applicants can also be home scholars. Among the stipulations, which were set by Perry, include:
t Applicant must be a full-time college student and enrolled in an accredited college in the state of Tennessee.
t Applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, preference is 3.5.
t Applicant must have scored a minimum of 28 on the college entrance ACT test.
t Applicant must have graduated from high school or have the equivalent of a GED diploma.
t Preference will be given to students enrolled as science or math majors or pre-med and engineering students.
The full scholarship will cover tuition, room and board, and books.
“Ed was not into athletics even though he understood the role of athletics in school. He was convinced that athletic participation would end at some point in time, but an education would last a lifetime,” said Hampton.
Both, Hampton and Newman, as well as members of the City Market Breakfast Club, noted that Perry continued to study and learn up until the day he died. “He took online courses and had CDs which he listened to on almost every subject,” said Retired Minister Clay Bailey, who had become a close friend of the doctor.
Bailey, Bill Jones, Frank Curde and Hampton had breakfast almost every morning with Perry.
“I also sat on the back pew with him every Sunday morning for the past five years at Valley Forge Christian Church,” Bailey said. “He knew the Bible well.
“We had some in-depth conversations and I learned to never argue with him, because he would always win,” he added.
“If you had told me 20 years ago that I would love and respect him as I did, I would have laughed in your face,” Bailey continued. “But he was one of the best friends I ever had and I really miss him.”
“It’s sad that much of the community will know him as an abortionist. But, there was much more to the man. He was a work in progress. He confided in me that he regretted ever doing his first abortion,” Bailey shared.
In fact, Perry was initially enrolled at Lees-McRae College and had plans to study for the ministry. He transferred to ETSU as a pre-med student and received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee. He also held a Ph.D. degree in English from a small college in New England.
His friends, Frank Curde and Bill Jones, agreed with Bailey about Perry’s thirst for knowledge. “He was so versatile in every area — arts, languages, government, literature. He knew it all,” said Curde.
Jones said Perry delighted in entertaining them with military stories. “He also knew theology, could speak three or four different languages, and it was not unusual for him to cite a whole poem,” said Jones.
Newman reiterated Perry’s education priority. “He realized that a good education could make a difference in a person’s life,” he said. “It not only provided them with the means of making a good living, but enriched their lives.”
“It’s not every day that someone leaves an endowment of $2.5 million for a scholarship fund in Carter County,” said Hampton.
The first scholarships will be awarded to 2016 high school graduates. Students who meet the criteria must apply for the 2016 scholarships by Dec. 1, and can do so by making application online at the East Tennessee Foundation website at: wwweasttennesseefoundation.org