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Dr. Taylor J. Perry Jr.

Jul 23, 2021

Dr. Taylor J. Perry Jr., 82, of Martinsburg, WV, passed away Friday, July 9, 2021.

Born Dec. 24, 1938, in Twiggs County, GA, Dr. Perry was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended the city public schools, and has been a resident of Martinsburg for over 40 years. He attended Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Martinsburg.

He was the son of the late Taylor Perry and Elouise Brown Perry.

Affectionately known as “Doc,” “TP,” and “Blinky,” Taylor served in the United States Army. He retired as Assistant Superintendent of Berkeley County Public Schools, West Virginia.

He is survived by three sons, Vincent Evans and wife, Judy, Cecil Evans, and Tab Perry and wife, Patricia; a daughter, Jamie Braxton and husband, Peter Brandt; three grandchildren, Tanicia, Tab, Jr., and Natalie; and eight great-grandchildren, Max, Samantha, Jaeden, Triana, Isley, Serenity, Mya, and Haven.

Dr. Perry is also survived by his devoted and dedicated partner, Melinda “Kimmy” Grantham, who was his primary caretaker in his final years.

He was preceded in death by a son, Steven Perry; and his five brothers and sisters, Versie, William, Thomas, Dorothy, and Rois.

After graduating from high school in Cincinnati in 1956, Taylor accepted a scholarship to play football and box at West Virginia State College. While attending WV State, he was selected as “All Conference” guard and linebacker on the football team for two years and was light heavyweight boxing champion for four years.

In 1960, Taylor enlisted in the U. S. Army where he again became involved in athletics and won the “2nd Army” and “All Army” Boxing Championship in 1961-62. During his tour of duty, he boxed in Europe to provide entertainment to troops.

Taylor was fortunate enough to play a few years of professional football in New Jersey and New York City in the early 1960’s. Taylor returned to WVSC in 1968 to complete his bachelor’s degree.

He began working in the Berkeley County school system in 1980 as a guidance counselor at Musselman High School. In 1982, he was promoted to Martinsburg High School Assistant Principal.

In 1986, Dr. Perry was appointed Berkeley County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services, where he coordinated the district’s counseling programs and supervised the nursing staff, attendance officers, homebound staff, and social workers. In addition, he started Berkeley County School’s Diversity Committee, a joint school-community initiative whose mission is to recruit and retain minority faculty and staff.

Dr. Perry was committed to the community and its youth. Upon retirement in 2001, Dr. Perry continued to work with youth through a high school SAT/ACT tutoring program. In addition, for six years he held the position of Berkeley County Director of the WV Achievement Project’s Advanced Placement (AP) program, where he recruited and mentored low income, minority, and first-generation college students to be successful in their AP studies. As part of the WV Achievement Project, he also directed the Scholars Program for Martinsburg North Middle School and South Middle school high academic achievers. This afterschool math and science program prepared the students for rigorous and AP courses in high school.

Dr. Perry has served on many boards, including Shepherd University’s Board of Governors, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (CTC) Board of Governors and Foundation, the WV Promise Scholarship Board, the WV Human Rights Commission, West Virginia University Health Sciences-Medical School Eastern Panhandle Advisory Committee, and the Health Sciences Technology Academy (HSTA)-Eastern Panhandle Board. He chaired Berkeley County NAACP’s Education Committee and was 2nd Vice President of the WV State NAACP. Professionally, he served as the West Virginia School Counselor Association’s president.

His many recognitions include the WV Civil Rights Commission Award from Governor Caperton, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee Award, Shepherd University’s President’s Medal, West Virginia State University (WVSU) President’s Medal, and Blue Ridge CTC President’s Medal.

Dr. Perry was inducted into the 2008 WVSU Sports Hall of Fame for football and boxing. In June 2019, he was inducted into Ohio’s Sports Hall of Fame for his participation on his high school’s (Lockland-Wayne) basketball state championship. That team was the first all-African American basketball team in the nation to earn a state championship.

Dr. Perry received his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State University, his master’s from West Virginia University, and his Doctorate in Educational Psychology from West Virginia University in 1975; his dissertation was titled The Effect of Racially Similar/Dissimilar Client-Counselor Dyads Upon Black Client Perception of Accurate Empathy and General Counselor Effectiveness.

A true “people person,” Taylor will be remembered for his warm personality and smile, his love of people, and telling great stories. His home was a welcoming environment for all who visited, and he never hesitated to travel miles just to “be there” for a friend.

Dr. Perry was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Family received friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 16, 2021, at Brown Funeral Home South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood.

Funeral service was held at noon Saturday, July 17, 2021, at the chapel. Reverend Damon Lynch, Pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church and Taylor’s childhood friend, will officiate the service.

Interment will be at Pleasant View Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the Dr. Taylor J. Perry Memorial Scholarship will be established at the Bank of Charles Town to continue his mission of helping all students have access to a college education.

Condolences can be sent to 21770 Cypress Valley Terrace, Sterling, VA 20166.