I’m writing this letter on the occasion of Perry White’s passing from this world into the next. Perry was the consummate “old school” newspaperman, a tough editor, a brilliant writer and a good friend. I came to know him during my tenure at the Watertown Daily Times, first as an antagonist who challenged nearly every word I wrote and then later as a collaborator and confidante who helped me both professionally and personally.
Perry made me a better writer and a better person, and he taught me skills I still use today. We spoke often of his love for the outdoors, good music and the warm climate of the American Southwest — an inviting prospect during the long, cold north country winters. I followed with interest his social media posts about his life in retirement in New Mexico and I’m glad he got to enjoy the sun for a time. He deserved it.
I watched with admiration as he cared for his wife, Pam, during her illness and shepherded the Times through a period of transition in the midst of a challenging era for the newspaper business. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand how he was able to do it all.
Perry and I kept in touch over the years. And in recent weeks, I told myself I was going to give him a call to check in, though a seemingly non-stop stream of breaking news always seemed to get in the way. I like to think he would understand, and I hope he is at peace. I believe he is, probably listening to The Band with a cold beverage, reading something good. He made his presence felt and he will be missed.
North Bethesda, Md.
The writer worked as a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times from 2012 to 2015.