On April 27, Head of School Darryl J. Ford Hon. 1689 wrote to the community to share sad news of the passing of Joseph S. Perrott Hon. 1689 on April 24. Joe Perrott was 84 years old and died of complications of COVID-19.
As you may know, Joe was part of the Penn Charter community as a faculty member and coach for almost four decades. After his full-time work concluded in 2001, after 36 years of service, Joe continued to teach an elective in psychology/human development for several more years. In his roles at Penn Charter – as English teacher, dean of students, college counselor, co-founder of the summer College Prep program (to assist public school students to access better college options), and championship lacrosse coach – Mr. Perrott not only educated students entrusted to his care but also fostered their growth while helping them make important life decisions that forged their futures. Memories of Mr. Perrott abound. OPCs recall his courses, while others note his prowess as a lacrosse coach and his inspirational words and antics to inspire excellence. Still others recall how they selected their university, especially, Williams College – Joe's alma mater – because of his influence.
Joe had many admirers and protégés. Chief among them is Chris Teare, who taught and coached with Joe in the 1980s. Most notably, Chris remembers Joe's impact as an instructor:
His one-trimester English electives, with one-word titles such as "War," "Crime" and "Love," were always over-subscribed. A typical assignment was the final writing assignment in the "Love" class: Students had to go to someone in their life whom they loved but had never told that truth. Then they had to write about their experience. I, for one, will never forget telling my father that I loved him. His response was so endearing and funny that I told the story at his memorial service. That's the kind of impact Joe could have on life far from English class."
Forty years a friend, Chris wrote a full tribute to Joe. Because of Joe's impact on his students, his athletes, and all those he helped to mold, we were especially pleased in 2010 when we dedicated Penn Charter's front field Perrott Field in Joe's honor.
In recent years, Chris Teare would update us on Joe's health when Joe would not do so himself. About a year ago, Chris contacted Jack Rogers and me to let us know that Joe was not faring well nor conscious. I left work to visit Joe at Chestnut Hill Hospital, and to my delight, I walked into his room, and Joe said, "How you doing, Darryl?" I visited Joe for about 30 minutes or so with Joe talking the entire time, asking about Penn Charter, and asking about you, our graduates. A week ago Joe went on hospice care, and we hoped for such a similar outcome but feared this would not be the case. Due to complications of COVID-19, Joe passed away on Friday, April 24.
Please join me in holding Lisa, Frank and Keith – Joe's children – in the Light. If you have memories of Joe Perrott, please share them so we may share them with our school community. We will plan a Memorial Meeting for Worship for Joe, an extraordinary Penn Charter educator, at a future date, when conditions allow.