Claremore Daily Progress

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July 2, 2014

Mickey Perry exhibit opens to the public

CLAREMORE — Friends, family, volunteers, distinguished guests and the common man were in Claremore Monday night to attend the brief but heartfelt grand re-opening ceremony of the History of Claremore Room in the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum. New to the room was an exhibit highlighting the life and career of former Claremore Chief of Police and Mayor Mickey Perry.

“We’re so grateful for everyone that could make it out tonight,” said J.M. Davis Executive Director Wayne McCombs. “We’re here this evening to show off the newly refurbished Claremore Room — really a labor of love on behalf of Judy Eagleton and her volunteers — but also to officially reveal the Mickey Perry exhibit.”

The exhibit contains numerous personal items from throughout Perry’s life and career — photographs, handcuffs, Perry’s first service revolver, badges, his gavel during his tenure as Claremore’s mayor, a baseball signed by Mickey Mantle and even a medal from Perry’s induction to the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame, presented to him just two days before his death in December 2013.

“Judy’s group truly did a remarkable job renovating this (Claremore History) room — it looks fantastic,” said Larry Larkin, vice-president of the Friends of the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum and longtime friend of Perry. “Judy likes to say that she’s a ‘child of (Claremore) Main Street, and most of the items in this room are on loan to us from her personal collection, truly an impressive display of Claremore memorabilia and memories.

“But we’re also here tonight to honor a great guy — Mickey Perry,” Larkin said. “When I think about Mickey ...I guess I’ve known him most of my life. We met in high school, and I can’t remember where exactly, but I’m going to say it was at Ernie’s Pool Hall.

“We were both Yankees fans and we had that in common, so our friendship started there and grew over the years,” he said. “After I retired from the post office, I’d go visit him at the police station and we’d sit in his office and talk — just sit there and talk until it was time for us to go home to supper.

“I never knew anyone else like Mickey,” he said. “He was a lot like Will Rogers in that, maybe except for some of the bad guys he put away when he was in law enforcement, he never met a person he didn’t like. I firmly believe that.

“As much as he loved his job, and if you knew Mickey, you knew he loved his job, he loved as family more,” he said. “Kathy, Jennifer ..thank you for sharing him with us.”

Perry’s daughter Jennifer Lewis also briefly spoke, thanking the Friends of the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum for choosing to honor her father with an exhibit in the museum.

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