Perry A. Sloan, Jr., having celebrated his 100th birthday in the company of many friends late last year, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, October 10. He is survived by his son Perry Sloan III of Salt Lake City and cousin Robert M. Sloan, of Winston-Salem. He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Lillie Duke Clements Sloan, and his daughter Trudie Ruffin Sloan Peek.
His passing is grieved by generations of fellow members of Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, who loved and admired their friend. Perry was a stalwart of the church, assured to be in his regular pew every week, including the Sunday before his death.
Perry was respected for his kindness, generosity, determination, humility, and faithfulness. He believed in humbly doing the right thing for the right reason. His later years were spent quietly finding ways to make a difference to his family, church, alma mater, and the community.
A Durham native, Perry was born November 6, 1917 to Perry Austin and Gertrude Ruffin Harris Sloan. His father died when he was very young, leaving Perry with fond memories of Durham Bulls baseball games and a lifelong connection to the church he watched being built by his father’s side.
Perry was president of the Durham High School Class of 1935. He then went Davidson to Davidson College where he received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1939. At Davidson, Perry was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and served as fraternity president in his senior year. He was inducted into the ODK national leadership society. He later studied graduate level finance at UNC Chapel Hill.
Perry was utterly devoted to his wife Dukie, with whom he became acquainted at a college dance while she was a student at the Woman’s College of Duke University. They married in Bethesda, Maryland, July 20, 1942. He had enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940, completing his first tour of duty as a young officer before the war, then returning to active service in the 82nd Airborne Division after Pearl Harbor. He served with the 82nd as Finance Officer and was awarded a Bronze Star in 1944 for having “demonstrated the most painstaking devotion to duty” as his unit pursued campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, England, France, Holland, and ultimately Germany. He was honorably discharged from the Army as a Captain in1946.
Perry began his professional life as a partner in the CM Headache Powder Company in Durham. In 1948 he joined First Securities Corporation as a stockbroker, eventually rising to become the firm’s president in1965. He served in that role until its merger with J.C. Wheat & Co., later known as Wheat First Securities. He retired after a forty-year career.
An abiding concern for Durham led him to service on the Durham County Welfare Board in 1951, later serving as chairman in 1957. He also served as an officer in the Jaycees, the Community Chest, and in 1964, as president of Hope Valley Country Club. In 1970, he joined the Board of Trustees of Peace College, where he endowed the Sloan Scholars Program. Perry was a loyal and generous supporter of Davidson College. In 2002, Davidson named the Sloan Music Center in honor of Perry and Dukie.
Perry was devoted to Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church and its work was ever a priority. Earlier this year the Presbytery of New Hope presented Perry with Trinity Avenue’s Outstanding Older Adult Award in recognition of the many supportive roles he played, including decades as a Ruling Elder, Finance Committee member, and Stewardship campaign leader. His financial leadership impacted Trinity Avenue in life-sustaining ways, allowing the congregation to grow the church staff and budge, rebuild the organ, and build a new fellowship hall. These gifts were always made humbly, with a desire to empower others and share God’s blessings.
His regular and faithful attendance at church on Sunday mornings sent a message to the congregation of the value he placed on gathering together to worship God, and in recent years his care providers were always by his side. Fellow members of the George Watts class remembered him singing a favorite hymn, “Dwelling in Beulah Land” with gusto. He was dearly loved and trusted by all of the pastors through the ages, particularly Bill Bennett, on whose search committee he served, and current pastor Katie Crowe, who spent many happy hours visiting him with her young son Dillon.
Perry was a skilled golfer. He won two men’s titles at Hope Valley spending many happy hours on the course and in the clubhouse with friends. His 63 on the par 70 course in 1977 took the Hope Valley record from professional golfer Mike Souchak, and his 28 on the back nine may never be eclipsed. He was an active leader in the Southern Seniors Golf Association and Perry and Dukie enjoyed many trips playing courses in the U.S., and across the British Isles and South Africa. Well into his 90s, Perry would step out his door and play a few holes. He had his last hole-in-one long after his eyesight began to deteriorate.
In recent years, Perry was surrounded by kind and devoted caregivers whose service is deeply appreciated. The family gratefully wishes to thank Frankie J. Perry, Gretchen Alston, Nate Dove, James Green, Jean Horton, Reggie Perry, Verselle Shaw, the late Sandy Williams for the loving care that so enriched his later years.
A celebration of Perry’s life and service of witness to his resurrection will be held at 11 am on Tuesday, October 16 at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, led by the Rev. Katie Crowe. A reception will follow. Memorial gifts may be made to the outreach ministries of Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, 927 West Trinity Avenue, Durham, NC 27701.