Veteran law officer, community ambassador and current Claremore Mayor Mickey Perry died Monday of a heart attack. He was 66.
Perry served for 41 years in law enforcement and retired in 2010 as the city’s police chief. He held the distinction of serving under eight mayors and every city manager employed in Claremore.
Forty years ago, Perry was elected as a freeholder to help write Claremore’s City Charter. In April 2011, he was elected as mayor.
Last Saturday, Perry was inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
Earlier this year, Perry was named the 2013 Progressive Citizen of the Year by the Claremore Daily Progress.
“I’ve served in public office for more than 25 years and Mickey Perry ranks number one of all the mayors I’ve worked with. He was a great leader,” said Claremore City Manager Jim Thomas. “He loved his family. He loved this city. He was a a friend to me. He will be greatly missed.”
Claremore Chief of Police Stan Brown said: “We regret the passing of Mickey Perry. He was a good friend to all, a mentor to many and service to others was his life mantra.”
Rep. Marty Quinn said: “If he had been a Cowboy, he would have worn a white hat. If he had a been a sports star, he would have been an All-American. If he had been in the Army, he would have been the General. To all the good folks in law enforcement, he was Chief. You could say Mickey was a lot of things to a lot of people but most of all he was just Mickey.
“A man who’s family loved him beyond words. To his friends, he was a person you could trust and count on in difficult times. He had that special gift to recall great stories and experiences of his life. His ability to tell those stories made you wonder why didn’t I ever get to do that. On the other hand, some of those stories made you think, ‘Man, thank goodness for law enforcement.’ I am glad God gave me the opportunity to walk beside and stand beside this good man. In my humble opinion, he was treasure to Claremore and the state of Oklahoma. Mickey, you will be greatly missed but the memory of your kindness and desire to serve others will go on for many years to come. I love you brother.”
Sen. Sean Burrage said: “In addition to Mickey Perry being an outstanding law enforcement officer for over 41 years, and then being elected and serving as Mayor of Claremore, he is an icon in our city and state’s history. You mention the name ‘Mickey’ in Rogers County and everyone knew who you were talking about. He has always been known as being fair-minded and even-handed, leaving behind a legacy of respect, admiration and appreciation. This is a great loss to our city and state. My friend Mickey will be missed.”
Frank C. Robson said: “What a tragedy, and will we miss Mickey in so many different ways. Not only was he the Mayor but our best emissary for Claremore — the town and community that he loved so much. One of the best stories Mickey told was about a drug bust in Bartlesville. Mickey and the other agents were in the other room of a motel and the drug pusher was in the room next door. Mickey gets to knock down the door and get him. His co-hart and fellow agent said ‘Mickey, he’s got a Cougar’—so Mickey said so thinking it was the druggee car, knocked down the door and lo behold it was a live cougar the drugee had in the room. Mickey was a great story teller and a gentleman. He never met a stranger.
Perry served on a variety of community boards, including the William A. Barnes Advocacy Center, Tri-County CASA, Rogers County Youth Shelter, Emergency Service Board, 911 Santa, A Child Is Missing and Food 4 Kids.
He was a member of Memorial Heights Baptist Church. When not serving others, he enjoyed watching sports on television and in person and having fun with his grandchildren.
He was a graduate of Foyil High School, Claremore Junior College (now Rogers State University) and Northeastern State University. He and his wife, Kathy, had been married 44 years and have one daughter, Jennifer, who is married to Randy Lewis. Perry has four grandchildren — Kyla, Dillon, Tyler and Tanner.
The family asks in lieu of flowers donations be made the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center, 213 East Patti Page, Claremore, OK 74017 or Share the Spirit.
Funeral services are pending. Musgrove- Merriott-Smith is handling the arrangements.